Oman experts study Bahrain farmers' market
Manama, April 2, 2014
Agricultural experts from Oman have visited the country to explore the weekly Bahraini Farmer's Market.
The four-man delegation was here as part of a tour of the Gulf as they study how to set up one of their own, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
They visited the market at the Agriculture Centre in Budaiya, as well as its future site at Howrat A'ali.
"It's a creative and interesting idea," said Oman's Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry agricultural and livestock marketing and investment director-general Munir Al Lawati.
"You cut out the middlemen, so you benefit farmers and the consumer.
"We also believe that it has helped farmers produce more, as they see what their competition in the market is and what people want.
"Also, through the breakfast, there is the gathering of families on a weekly basis, so it has a great family atmosphere.
"Painters and artists who work there give it a nice touch as well."
Al Lawati said the experts heard about the market through conversations with officials during mutual exchanges of projects and opinions.
"We started our tour in Qatar to look at what they had to offer, before moving on to Bahrain," said Oman's Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry agricultural and livestock marketing director Mohammed Al Baloshi.
"It's different to what's going on here in Bahrain. We're then visiting Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
"The farmer's market is very important because it increases farmers' income and improves the economy.
"It gives them a place to sell in a direct way and that's what we're interested in.
"Consumers get high-quality produce at a low, competitive price.
Oman's Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry agriculture advisory directorate assistant manager Ahmed bin Yousif Al Baloushi said one of the unique aspects of Bahrain's market was that it was held at a farm in the Agriculture Centre.
"The importance of the market lies in the fact that it introduces Bahrainis to Bahraini produce," said Oman's Agricultural Association for Al Batinah Region Farmers' chairman Saed Al Kharusi.
"They then introduce it in their diet and see the difference between the imported and local produce.
"Even between farmers, there is a distinct difference.
"There's a large variety, for instance all the different kinds and colours of cherry tomatoes.
"It's clear that farmers are aware of nutrition and this is a great step forward."
Farmers' Market executive manager Amani Abu Idris was proud to host the delegation.
"Their response had been very positive and they were delighted with the market," she said.
"They didn't think they would see as much variety and produce as they did."
This week's farmers' market on Saturday will also host a Berries Festival. - TradeArabia News Service