Bahrain plans new hydroponic project
Manama, February 4, 2012
A pioneering project to create a centre where plants, fruits and vegetables are grown without soil will finally get underway in Bahrain next month.
The Green Roof Company, which originally proposed the idea at the end of 2010, is set to carry out the plan with government support.
It has already begun working on three centres in Sitra, Tashan and Hamad Town, which are expected to open soon.
A row over the project took a new twist last month with two more companies emerging as rivals for the contract.
The Green Roof Company had already been chosen by the Manama Municipality to construct a hydroponic gardening centre at Salmaniya Garden.
It was supposed to open the centre early last year, but the project was put on hold due to the unrest.
A new agreement was drawn up and it was scheduled to open by April.
However, the Manama Municipal Council last month refused to approve the project unless the investor agreed to a five-year renewable deal, which included a fixed annual fee.
The investor had originally sought a 25-year lease and guarantees of no fees, in return for providing free training and education on hydroponic gardening to Bahrainis.
As a result of the stalemate, the council voted to cancel the agreement and tender out the project - despite objections from council vice-chairman Mohammed Mansoor.
However, company managing director Fadhel Sulibi said the firm would go ahead undeterred.
'We have allocated BD60,000 for the first phase of the project and have already acquired the necessary licences to open three new centres in Sitra, Tashan and Hamad Town,' he said.
'The project is ready to go ahead with or without the support of the council. I want to thank Mr Mansoor for his support, but things have been delayed enough.
'When I first came up with the idea, I approached the council and they supported me all the way, until they decided to stop my contract and allow others to come despite my efforts.
'I am happy that my idea has brought in competitors because it means that I won and shows that I have come up with something important.'
Sulibi said the three plots of land selected for the implementation of the project had been leased from private owners and would be handed over to farmers, gardeners and those interested in unconventional gardening.
'The Sitra branch will open next month, work on the Tashan branch will begin mid-February and work on the Hamad Town branch, which will be dedicated mostly to the Supreme Council for Women, will begin shortly afterwards,' he said.
'There will be two options on the way people can practise in our centres and that's either by leasing parts for gardening and keeping crops or taking parts for free and then we take the crops to sell under our company's name in the market,' he added.-TradeArabia News Service