ABU DHABI, 10th March, 2019 (WAM) — Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister for Tolerance and President of the Board of Trustees of the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation, today honoured, at the Emirates Palace in the capital, Abu Dhabi, the individual and institutional winners of the 11th Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation.
Sheikh Nahyan and the attendees, including ministers and members of the diplomatic corps, watched a performance of a song, entitled, “Helm Tamra” (A Date’s Dream), which highlighted the UAE’s growth and development in the area of agriculture, as directed by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
In his speech, Sheikh Nahyan said, “What the award has achieved within a decade has surpassed all expectations, and contributed to strengthening the UAE’s pioneering role in developing and advancing the international date palm and agricultural innovation sector. The award implemented, during the Year of Zayed, 12 exceptional local, Arab and international initiatives, and we are proud of the launch of Arab date festivals that revive the memory of the Founder, and the builder of the UAE’s agricultural civilisation. In this year, 2019, the award will celebrate the Year of Tolerance, because tolerance leads to nations of peace, advancement, growth and confidence in the future.”
Sheikh Nahyan, accompanied by Dr. Jose Graziano Da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agricultural Organisation, FAO, honoured the winners of the award’s various categories, as well as several national and international figures who served and developed the agricultural sector, as well as palm agriculture and date production throughout the world.
For the category of distinguished innovative studies and modern technology, the award was jointly given to Dr. Mark Alfred Tester, from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in KSA, and Dr. Huda Badri Mohamed Ali, from the Federal Republic of Germany. The award was also jointly given to Desert Fruit Company, from Republic of Namibia, and SAHAM AGRI Company, from the Kingdom of Morocco.
Groasis Company, from The Netherlands, received the award for the category of pioneering and sophisticated innovations serving the agricultural sector. And for the category of influential figure in the field of date palm and agricultural innovation, the award was jointly given to Dr. Julian Schroeder, from USA, and Dr. Abdel Baset Oda Ibrahim, from the Republic of Iraq.
Dr. Jose Graziano da Silva, Director General of FAO, praised the efforts of the United Arab Emirates in supporting and developing the agricultural sector at an international level, in particular the date palm planting and date production, thanks to its developed infrastructure and institutions, international expertise, and strong will that contributed to promote the date palm tree sector, especially through the date festivals at the Arab world.
He also praised the remarkable success of the conference that aimed at creating an international trust fund to combat the red palm weevil within a strategy in which the member states take part.
After that, Sheikh Nahyan honoured the winners of the Distinguished and Innovative Farmer Award organized by the Secretariat General of the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation, in cooperation with Al FOAH Company. The winners of the smallholder farmer’s category are: The first place winner: Sheikha Onoud bint Rashid bin Ahmed Al Mualla The second place winner: Said Abdullah Gomaa Bharoun Ali Medium Scale Farmer: The place winner: Said Abdullah Hassan The second place winner: Hamad Al Hur Rashid Al Hur Al Sewedy Higher Medium Scale Farmer: The First place winner: Khalifa Abdullah Khamis Mohamed Al Mazrouei The second place winner: Mohamed Said Salim Gaaed Al Qubaisi Large Scale Farmer: The place winner: Sultan Said Mahd Sultan Al Ariany The second place winner: Mohamed Ali Morshed Al Marar Sheikh Nahyan also honored national and international figures who contributed in the development of agricultural sector and the cultivation and production of date palm in the world, including: Major General Fares Khalaf Khalfan Al Mazrouie, Head of National Cultural and Heritage Festivals and Programs Committee – Abu Dhabi, Ibrahim Al Shahaheda – Minister of Agriculture and Environment – the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Salah Bashir Al Nafedy- Senior Deputy of Al Nafedy Group Manager – the Republic of Sudan and Dr. Mohamed Djerbi– Former Chief Technical Advisor – Food & Agriculture Organization – Tunisian Republic.
Also today, Sheikh Nahyan welcomed, in his palace, the guests of the award, and expressed his appreciation at the support of the wise Leadership for the award, as well as the level of international interest in the “International Date Palm Conference,” which has been hosted by the UAE for over 20 consecutive years.