(MENAFN- Jordan Times) AMMAN – Deputising for His Majesty King Abdullah, Agriculture Minister Khalid Hneifat on Sunday inaugurated the third International Festival of Jordanian Dates.
The festival is organised by the Agriculture Ministry, the Jordanian Dates Association (JODA) and the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation (KIAAI), with the participation of seven countries, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
In his opening speech, Hneifat stressed that Jordan is aware about the importance of cultivating certain varieties of dates with high economic returns, such as Medjool and Barhi dates.
Additionally, the ministry seeks to encourage non-traditional crops that meet the needs of local and international markets in accordance with quality and food safety standards.
He said that Medjool dates, the number of palm trees of which is estimated to be 650,000, are one of the most important types of dates that distinguish Jordan.
Its production constitutes about 14 per cent of global production, noting that the ministry is looking forward to reaching one million Medjool date palms.
UAE Ambassador to Jordan Ahmed Al Balushi said that the festival confirms the depth of historical relations among the countries and their close cooperation.
KIAAI Secretary General Abdel Wahab Zayed highlighted the role of the partnership between the award organisers and the concerned authorities in Jordan and international organisations in this festival's success.
JODA head Anwar Haddad noted that Jordan has reached an annual growth rate for date palm trees that exceeded 8 per cent.
About 25,000 tonnes have been produced so far, constituting 14 per cent of the production of Medjool dates in the world, he added.
During the ceremony, winners were awarded in multiple categories: Best applied scientific research on date palm trees in Jordan, best production of Medjool dates in Jordan, best packaging of Jordanian dates, best food product of Jordanian dates, the best distinguished farm for date palms in Jordan, best innovation and best packaging house or factory for dates in Jordan.
The ceremony was attended by a number of international, Arab and local personalities, researchers, farm owners, members of the diplomatic corps, producers of dates and companies in the Kingdom.
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