(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The Khalifa International Date Palm Award Committee of the Liwa Date Festival has increased the prize money for the farmers from Dh4.2 million this year to Dh6 million for the ninth edition of the festival scheduled in 2013.
According to Ahd Karkoutee, Public Relations Coordinator for the award, the prize money was a grant from the President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to encourage local farmers to help boost the agro-economy of the country.
This year's festival has Dh4.2 million cash prizes ranging from Dh2,000 to Dh200,000. "It is an international award for all those working in the field of palm trees and by-product," explained Karkoutee.
He added that the UAE farmers had reached international competitive levels in terms of quality and production, particularly farmers in Al Gharbia region, two of whom won awards in the best production and distinguished producers categories in this year's edition of the festival.
"The award committee approved increase in the award's prize money to Dh6 million effective from next edition due to the increasing number of participants," said Karkoutee.
The award has received invitations to take part in international festivals and exhibitions related to date fruits and palm trees in Morocco and Libya. It has also been invited to the UAE International Date Festival in November.
A recent official study confirmed the UAE as the world's leading date exporter with 266,000 tonnes exported to over 30 countries, a share of over 33 per cent.
The annual date festival in Abu Dhabi's Western Region or Al Gharbia, one of the most beautiful oases in the world, began on July 12 and concluded on Wednesday with hundreds of farmers and food processing companies displaying their products.