UAE: Date palm oases go global

Abu Dhabi: The UAE’s date palm oases are expected to receive international recognition in near future for providing social, cultural, ecological and economical services to humans.

The date palm oases are likely to join Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS), an initiative of the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) for safeguarding and supporting rich agricultural heritage systems across the world.

The FAO has, so far, recognised 25 GIAHS sites in 12 nations across the globe. Agricultural heritage systems can be found throughout the world covering about five million hectares that are managed by 1.4 billion people, mostly farmers, peasants and indigenous communities. They produce 30 to 50 per cent of food consumed in the developing world, thereby contributing substantially to food security at local, national and regional levels, according to FAO.

FAO started the procedures for the proposed recognition of UAE’s date palm oases on Monday at a workshop in Abu Dhabi.

The proposed recognition to the UAE’s date palm oases will give inspiration to the entire developing world to conserve their agricultural heritage, a senior official told Gulf News on the sidelines of the workshop.

“The UAE leadership has taken all the measures to conserve the date plam, which is a symbol of Emirati heritage” Dr. Abdul Wahab Zaid, Secretary General of the Khalifa International Date Palm Award, said.

Welcoming the FAO proposal, Eng Saif Al Shar’a, Assistant Undersecretary for the Agricultural and Animal Sector in the Ministry of Environment and Water said at the workshop that Emirati society regarded the date palm oasis as ‘custodian’ of food security, livelihood and cultural heritage.  Date palms cultivated and maintained by local communities of farmers for centuries represented traditional knowledge, biodiversity and resilience.

The FAO officials will visit Date Palm Oases in Al Ain today (Tuesday), including a farm that has around 50,000 date palm trees.


The FAO initiative intends to support farming communities in the developing world to general employment, said Ad Spijkers, FAO Sub regional Office Coordinator for the Gulf Cooperation Council States and Yemen and FAO Representative in UAE.


A FAO document said although the UAE does not depend on the date palms for food security and livelihood after its transformation as a welthy economy based on oil revenues, they are regarded for their cultural heritage and continuously providing goods and services.


Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) have the capacity to withstand climate change, FAO said.


Source: Gulf News

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