A total of 154 metric tonnes of 'Safawi' dates, will be distributed to all Muslim citizens and residents in the Sultanate in conjunction with the upcoming Ramadhan this year.
The dates, which are a personal contribution of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, are from the Al Madinah Dates Company, Saudi Arabia.
The dates are expected to arrive at Muara Port in the third week of the month, said Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah in a press statement yesterday.
A meeting on the matter, held among representatives from each district and various government agencies involved with the distribution process, was chaired by the Managing Director of YSHHB Hj Brahim Hj Ismail yesterday.
Among the agencies involved are the Department of Royal Customs and Excise, Ports Department, Royal Brunei Armed Forces and Royal Brunei Police Force.
Also present was the Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs, Hj Muhammad Sunadi Hj Buntar.
The meeting was held to set up a committee tasked with overseeing and managing the whole operation, as well as review the format of the launching ceremony of the distribution which will be held sometime before Ramadhan, the foundation said.
Last year, YSHHB renewed the contract with Al Madinah Dates Company to supply dates to Yayasan for three years.
The 'Safawi' dates will be imported via chilled containers to ensure its freshness. 'Safawi' is one of the date types from Saudi Arabia and characterised by a chewy and sweet texture, which is favoured by Bruneians. They also have a dark tinge and can be kept in a cold room for up to a year.
A ceremony will be held where the dates will be distributed to penghulu and village heads, who will then give the dates to the residents under their jurisdiction.
Also to receive the dates at the ceremony will be the commanders of major units of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces, unit directors and Ministry of Defence, commanding officers at the Royal Brunei Police Force and directors of formation who will later distribute them to officers and personnel under their respective units.