Nov 30 2012

Date Palms Strategically Integral to Food Security in Dry Land Communities

Abu Dhabi - 30 November 2012: The role of the date palm in the development of early civilization and its usefulness as a strategic agricultural cornerstone for food security for Dry Land Communities is often overlooked. The date palm has so much to offer beyond its symbolic value, said Shuckri Bundakji, a speaker at the Emirates International Date Palm Festival.

Shuckri Bundakji, an author and researcher on date palms, discussed the role of date palms as a Strategic Agricultural Cornerstone for Food Security and Social Cohesion for Dry Land Communities. He highlighted the use of date palms as symbols of hospitality and in rituals that are inherent in all monotheist religions, especially Islam, as well as in culture and national pride, as represented within emblems, logos and even in architecture as exemplified by the palm island in Dubai, UAE.

He detailed the many nutritional benefits of dates and uses of date palms and their historic significance going back 10 millennia. In addition, the natural characteristics of the date palm and its ability to shelter people and vegetation provided the cohesion for community spirit and encourage hospitality. "In this sense, date palms also represent a major determinant of social cohesion in dry land communities," he pointed out.

He presented many examples of towns and even regions named after date palms as well as the medicinal uses of dates. "I am confident that several secrets so far uncovered lie hidden in the DNA of the plant. Not paying sufficient attention to this wonderful plant in the process of urban development in the region will bury forever some of the most cherished characteristics of this region, whose culture and heritage are so intertwined with this tree," he concluded.

Organized by the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, supported by the Date Palm Friends Society, and sponsored by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, the Emirates International Date Palm Festival is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA). The festival celebrates the culture, tradition and heritage of the date fruit and the countries that produce it right across the world.

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© Press Release 2012

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