The fourth edition of the "Al Dhaid Dates Festival" kicked off at the Dhaid Expo Centre in Sharjah and was inaugurated by the UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi. Held under the patronage of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, the festival saw people, senior officials, and dignitaries from across the country flock to the four-day event. During the inauguration, Dr. Al Zeyoudi said sustainability in all sectors, particularly in agriculture, is the main goal of the UAE Vision 2021. "The ministry, in collaboration with all the public and private sector entities, spares no effort to boost the sustainability of this sector and attain food diversity to ensure a better future for the current and future generations." Date palm cultivation is one of the major agricultural sectors taken care of by the prudent leadership because of its cultural and heritage connections with the UAE society, he said, adding, "The UAE leaders have ordered all the necessary support to this vital sector to help promote Emirati dates all over the European, American and Asian markets." The minister went on to note that the UAE companies currently export date products to 48 countries around the world. "The Sharjah Chamber’s relentless efforts to boost dates and the agricultural sector in the emirate and the entire country speak volumes. Farmers and all those concerned need to pay attention to palm trees and dates, and other local summer plants," he urged, adding, "The Al Dhaid Dates Festival is a perfect platform for exchanging information and expertise and adopting the latest sustainable practices." Organised annually by the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the festival conducts six contests with 126 prizes valued at AED1 million. There are some 35 exhibitors taking part in the event, along with 15 local and federal government entities. meanwhile Some 40,000 visitors and hundreds of palm tree farmers attended the four-day event held at Al Dhaid Expo Centre in Sharjah. Lucrative cash and in-kind prizes, valued at AED1 million, were presented to 362 winners across six competitions during the event organised by the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, SCCI.