They say every single part of the Arab traditional palm tree is useful and nothing goes to waste. Be it the tree itself or the luscious dates or the pit or the frond or stems, wicker, leaves and even thorns and fibers or any smallest part of the tree is needed for human beings.
Date fronds are being widely used as broom sticks to sweep outdoors as well as indoors but here, a man has found a different, yet aesthetic use for the frond and the love that he developed during his childhood has grown to be his passion and today, his livelihood after combining his passion with the world of business.
Meet Saeed bin Salem al Wardi, a young Omani who 'invented' and 'reinvented' the multiple uses of the date fronds and a devoted lover of the field of palm fronds who make environmentally friendly heritage products, and has become an instant hit on its own.
"From a young age, I was attached to the palm tree and somehow I felt that it was attached to me too. I loved it and wrote poetry about it. I wrote, "Leave it,all of you just leave the palm tree to me!" It is a tree of challenge that resists the scarcity of resources and continues to give, and it is truly blessed as described by the Prophet (peace be upon him), and among its blessings is that it is reusable. We actually reuse all its parts: stems, wicker, fronds, leaves and even thorns and fibers," says Saeed.
The pioneer in this industry today runs Albaydar and Al Drwaza Foundation and Al Drwaza products and services which are focused on reusing the date fronds. On a daily basis, Al Drwaza is making and modifying various rooms, awnings, heritage councils, environmentally friendly buildings, chalets and arish. Al Drwaza has been keen ion local and international participation, and because the entrepreneur considers himself fully responsible for his chosen field, he searches for innovation, renewal and creativity and constantly needs to exchange ideas with interested people so that he cross-fertilises with others in search of inspiration and ideas.
Challenges in reinventing the aesthetic uses of date fronds:
"There have been a lot of challenges and I must say we faced them with the same love, determination, experience and passion and today we're here!.
We are always keen to introduce continuous modifications, employ qualified people and experts from our country, benefit from the experiences of similar projects, and communicate with officials, authorities to facilitate obtaining financing and the palm waste on a regular basis", adds Al Wardi.
"There is no leadership without a challenge. In our field, the challenges were refining the palm tree craft as a jewel, keeping it radiant and shining, modernising it and making it keep pace with the times in design and engineering, employing scientific development and the latest technology, training workers in a specialised manner, raising quality and raising the level of competition, continuously providing palm waste in good condition, treating the waste so that it is resistant to pests, and eventually after the birth of the product it is exported as part of our culture and our elaborate heritage, yes! It is our royal tree and our majestic ambassador," Al Wardi adds the patriotic flavour to his craft.
How has the journey been?
"I do not claim success alone, but I refer all the time to the assistance I received throughout my journey, starting with the support of family, friends and acquaintances, who were and still stand by my back and give me hope. As for the financial support, I have used youth financing funds and bank loans after submitting feasibility studies and the required papers, and I am still under the generous umbrella of the Al-Rafd Fund."
The corona phase:
The pandemic that shook us all, except for the bride of the sand (the palm tree), which even when it dies, stands tall. iIt was impossible to work and the life we were familiar with has been paralysed, debts, loans, rents and fees have accumulated. The stagnation has afflicted all commercial and tourism activities and projects in general, and because the palm is our example of steadfastness and its love runs the bloodstream in us.
The futuristic and artistic concept of revamping of porticos, foyers and courtyards has been recognised globally.
"We did not leave an opportunity for internal or external participation unless we were present in it, for example, our participation in the Amman Humanitarian Dialogue Exhibition in Geneva 2018, the Intellectual Property Rights Organisation," says Saeed.
We are still planning and dreaming of many achievements, and one of our future plans is to be part of the future of resource sustainability in our country and to be part of the solution to important national issues, contributing to the Oman 2040 vision with diligence.
A word for future entrepreneurs:
I advise my fellow Omani entrepreneurs who are in the market or who are about to establish their projects to spare no effort in order to develop and keep pace with their projects and to rely on science, research and comparison in studying trends and to accept competition and look at it positively and to be certain that God does not waste anyone’s wages or efforts.