New trade links to take root at garden show
Manama, October 22, 2012
Investment opportunities in Bahrain's agriculture sector will be explored at a major garden show set to be held next year.
The Bahrain International Garden Show (Bigs) will be held for the ninth year under the theme 'Bahrain's Agriculture Sector is Ripe for Investment' and aims to bring the sector back to the forefront of business opportunities in the country.
It is being organised by the National Initiative for Agricultural Development (Niad) and will be held from February 27 until March 2 under the patronage of HRH Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, wife of His Majesty King Hamad, Supreme Council for Women president and Niad president.
The show received global backing yesterday from the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation's (Unido) Investment and Technology Promotion Office (ITPO), which revealed Bahrain has been chosen to become the region's hub for wellness investment - specialising in nutrition, health and alternative medicine ventures, among others.
Bigs general co-ordinator Shaikha Maram bint Isa Al Khalifa expects next year's event to attract more than 20,000 people with Unido and Tamkeen stepping up to support the initiative.
"Bahrain's agriculture sector currently contributes less than one per cent to the country's gross domestic product (GDP).
"This is a meagre figure, which serves to highlight the ample room for growth as the kingdom moves towards agricultural self-sufficiency," said Shaikha Maram.
"These current circumstances, combined with rising food prices and increasingly scarce natural resources, while hard on the pockets of consumers, present great opportunities for investors.”
"In fact, the under-investment this sector has witnessed in recent years means that there are many highly lucrative areas of investment, which are just waiting for the right projects and investors.”
"Investment in this sector also has a secondary benefit which is, arguably, just as important - that of ensuring food security.”
"We would like to see Bahrain eventually become agriculturally self-sufficient."
Shaikha Maram was speaking during a press conference yesterday held at Kempinski Grand and Ixir Hotel, Bahrain City Centre.
The exhibition will be divided into two halls - one will be dedicated to landscaping and garden design while the second will showcase a variety of goods and services relating to gardening and landscaping.
An awards ceremony will also be held at the end of the event to honour exhibitors for the quality of their displays.
Unido's Itpo head Dr Hashim Hussein said investment in agriculture was a new field, which attracted many entrepreneurs from across the world.
"This year we are bringing agripreneurs from across the world to showcase their technologies and mechanisms in Bigs," he said.
"We started the agripreneurs programme this year and now Bahrain will be the first to benefit from it after it has become global.”
"Japanese, Russian and Italian advancements will be shown during Bigs. Forty agripreneurs from the Arab region have been invited to attend, which is an increase from the original 27 invited during the previous event.”
He also said Bahrain has been selected by Unido to become the world's first wellness village.
"The country has the infrastructure and investment atmosphere for success and all we need to do is raise awareness amongst youth that it is a good business opportunity for them," he explained.
"There are huge chances in fitness, agrihealth and medical businesses. With entrepreneurs showing great interest, we need innovative ideas that would serve the sector best."
Meanwhile, the annual Flower and Vegetable Show will be held as part of Bigs to celebrate the Bahrain Garden Club's 48th anniversary.
"We will introduce, for the first time this year, a competition for the commercial sector and lectures and workshops at the Bigs," said club chairwoman Zahra Abdul Malik.
"A competition for the best school garden will also be held and we will visit each school at a certain deadline for assessment." – TradeArabia News Service