Bahrain plans hydroponic gardening centre
Manama, November 7, 2011
Bahrain's first training centre and exhibition for hydroponic gardening to grow plants without soil will open early next year at the Salmaniya Garden.
An investor has been selected by the Manama Municipality and Manama Municipal Council to handle the scheme that aims to introduce the public to the method.
As agreed with Tamkeen, which is financially supporting the scheme, the investor will sell the crops to the local market in a bid to encourage hydroponic gardening as a business.
The council has already set aside BD4,000 ($10,608) for the scheme, in addition to shouldering the construction cost of the centre and exhibition.
It says that it is willing to cover other additional costs depending on the interest of people to learn about the hydroponic experience.
Bahrain's five municipal councils are now set to introduce the scheme as a non-obligation to homes and buildings free of charge to gain interest from the public.
The scheme's launch will be followed by a new municipal obligation that all multi-storey commercial buildings in Manama should have rooftop gardens, with a national law currently being drawn up.
Councils believe that this will further help promote green areas in present concrete jungles.
A trial of the scheme held at selected social centres in co-ordination with the Social Development Ministry has been successfully completed.
'We are in the phase of finalising the contract with the investor and there are minor details that we are just looking into,' said municipality director-general Yousif Al Ghatam.
'For the municipality, this is a non-profit investment, considering that we have one thing in mind and that's raising public awareness about the importance of hydroponic gardening.
'We want to increase interest in hydroponic gardens and this is why we have agreed to give a large part of the Salmaniya Garden to the investor to set-up Bahrain's first training centre and exhibition.
'The investor will then in return be allowed to sell his crops in the local market in reward for the public service of showcasing hydroponic gardening.'
He said that the investor would just pay utility bills and meet other required government administrative expenses.
Council vice-chairman Mohammed Mansoor said that the financial support arrangement with Tamkeen had not been presented to the council yet.
'From negotiations with the investor, we have learned that Takmeen is supporting the scheme because it will open up hydroponic gardening as a future profitable business for Bahrainis,' he said.
'That's of course besides other financial support for us in the council to help construct the hydroponic farm, which will include a greenhouse-like structure and a fish tank where fish soil will be moved with water through tubes and distilled on plants and then circulated again to the tank.'
Mansoor said that the council's main aim behind introducing hydroponics in Bahrain in the first place was to make people start loving planting and turning the practice into a daily lifestyle.
'We have already tested hydroponics in different social centres in Bahrain and it has proved a success according to an initial study presented to us and now we are working to train those interested, whether Bahrainis or expatriates, in co-ordination with the investor,' he said.
'A time frame is currently being planned for non-obligatory implementation in homes and buildings, which we will coincide with the end of training for the first batch of volunteers.'
'It will become obligatory around a year from now with the introduction of a joint municipal regulation and a national law that is already being drawn up.'
Mansoor said that a number of people had already started the method at their homes or buildings with certain seeds and crops without ever knowing it is hydroponic gardening.
'There are six basic types of hydroponic systems - wick, water culture, ebb and flow (flood and drain), drip (recovery or non-recovery), nutrient film technique and aeroponic,' Mansoor said.
'There are hundreds of variations on these basic types of systems, but all hydroponic methods are a variation or combination of these six,' he added.-TradeArabia News Service