ABU DHABI, June 4 (Bernama) -- An Emirati doctor who abandoned medical practice and embraced date palm cultivation has urged the authorities to introduce date palm farming into various curricula followed in the country, Emirates News Agency (WAM) reported.
Dr. Ahmed Saif Al Falasi, winner of the Sheikh Khalifa International Date Palm Award in the Distinguished Personality category in its 4th edition this year, had fell in love with the blessed tree several decades ago.
Educated as a medical doctor, Al Falasi practised medicine in various hospitals in the country and held positions such as the Acting Director of the Al Ain Medical District and Ex-Director General of the Federal Environmental Authority. During this time he also enjoyed spending times in the farm lands, nurturing date palms.
He then decided to leave medical practice and dedicate his life to the date palm cultivation, virtually upholding the principle 'Food; not Medicine', a watchword coined by an Arab author somewhere in the middle of the last century.
Al Falasi visited many Arab countries studying various varieties of the date palms, and brought the seedlings to the UAE. From Iraq, he brought the 'Shuwaiti' variety, considered to be the best in the world.
In an interview with WAM Dr. Falasi told Salem Al Aghbari that he brought to the UAE a total of 83 varieties of the finest date palm seedlings from Oman, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Kuwait and other countries.
Even some ministers of agriculture in the Gulf countries were not aware of the existence of several varieties, said Dr. Al Falasi.
One of these varieties is named 'Al-Sabr' (Arabic term for patience ) because of her long wait to bear fruit, noted Al Falasi. With prayers on his lips, Al Falasi remembered the Founding President of UAE the Late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan for his love for agriculture, especially date palms.
Al Falasi also gratefully talked about the great support given by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to the agriculture and the food security in the country.