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A modern approach to preserving dates

Oman’s role in global dates production has been growing significantly and with the 1 Million Dates project, its position as dates producer will be dramatically felt not only in the region but internationally in the coming years.

With a diverse landscape that is ideal for growing this wonder plant, Oman is home to over 100 varieties of dates, each with its own unique qualities and production value.

Qaith Student Company at the National University of Science and Technology succeeded in inventing a new device called Cooler, which is an environmentally sustainable device that works with clean energy.

This product maintains the quality of dates production and protects it from the problems of dust, moisture, rain and insects and birds. The device allows the use of less space when drying dates.

Qusai al Sabahi, CEO of Qaith Company, said that the innovative “Mibrad” is a device that dries dates with the help of clean energy at a faster pace than the traditional method, and works to protect it from exposure to insects and various weather factors.

He added that the device was designed using polycarbonate material that works to distribute sunlight and isolate ultraviolet rays. It consists of several layers that can be moved horizontally made of stainless steel, and the device specialises in drying dates using clean solar-powered fans that reduce humidity inside the device, in addition to taking advantage of natural sunlight. Equipped with sensors, the fans will turn on when the humidity inside the device rises to more than 30 per cent and they shut down when the humidity drops to less than 25 per cent and when the temperature rises to more than 40 degrees Celsius.

He explained that the company has taken advantage of artificial intelligence by launching the “Mibrad “ application for smartphones which allow users to be connected to the drying device, providing the customer with important information like the position of the device during drying, the degree of humidity and temperature inside the device, and ultimately, getting a notification when the dates are dried.

Qusai al Sabahi said the innovation stems from the Omani environment as the date crop is widely grown all over the country. The team noticed the different challenges the farmers face from dust to humidity to challenges like pests and insects and even the space it needs to dry them. Mibrad was created to address most of these issues and help the farmers by introducing a modern method to a time-honoured tradition.

For its advantages, Al Sabahi said that the device is an environmental-friendly product with high efficiency and quality, and it saves time and effort in the drying process. It is also characterised by ease of transportation and use and can be used to dry other crops during harvest season.

Being the first device nationally with its qualitative performance and capacity, the device is priced at RO 240 that the CEO explained take into consideration different factors.

“The device is portable, meaning it can be transferred from one location to another. Because of the challenges it resolves, it allows the farmers to be even more productive in producing high-quality dates that are free from the exposure of temperature and humidity. No other devices in the market offer this level of ease and support,” Qusai said.

He added, “the company provides free maintenance for the product for two months with one-year warranty, and we also offer free training on using the machine.”

The team is planning to make the device available in the market starting in August.

“We are currently working on developing and modernising the device, which is a continuous process in each production stage,” Qusai said.

The company is also looking into the expansion of investment by increasing the company’s capital to RO 30k in the next five years. Qaith Company also looks forward to investing and contracting with the Oman Palm Development Company to increase the production of the crops and train workers in its operations department.

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