Agriculture technology takes center stage at BIGS 2014

Shaikha Maram during the Press conference, which was also attended by Head of UNIDO, Dr. Hashim Hussain and Bahrain Garden Club (BGC) Chairperson Zahra Abdulmalik
Shaikha Maram during the Press conference, which was also attended by Head of UNIDO, Dr. Hashim Hussain and Bahrain Garden Club (BGC) Chairperson Zahra Abdulmalik
MANAMA: State-of-the-art greenhouses, green walls, green roofs, sophisticated kitchen gardens and other cutting edge agricultural technologies, will be showcased at the Bahrain International Garden Show (BIGS) this year.

The event is being organised by the National Initiative for Agricultural Development (NIAD) in collaboration with Tamkeen and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) under the theme “Agricultural Technology”. With more than 130 exhibitors covering a 7500-square-metre area, the tenth anniversary show promises to be the most impressive one yet.

Among the main attractions this year is a particularly large showing of Italian exhibitors. In addition to showcasing their goods, the Italians are also assisting the organisers with the event’s theme, showcasing some of their advanced agricultural technologies.

“Since this year is our tenth anniversary, the show will include a special display celebrating its history and development over the last 10 years,” Shaikha Maram bint Isa Al Khalifa, General Coordinator of BIGS, said.

“BIGS has been growing steadily since it started. The number of exhibitors has more than doubled and the total floor space is almost twice as big as well. Even more impressively, the number of visitors has increased from around 6,000 in the early years to more than 16,000 last year. And this year we are expecting even further growth,” she added.

Shaikha Maram was speaking at a Press conference, which was also attended by Head of UNIDO, Dr. Hashim Hussain and Bahrain Garden Club (BGC) Chairperson Zahra Abdulmalik.

Dr. Hussain spoke about the role of UNIDO in bringing international exhibitors to the event, while Mrs Abdulmallik announced details about the popular Bahrain Garden Club’s 49th annual Flower and Vegetable competition, which is being held again this year on the sidelines of BIGS.

Following an official opening on 26th February, BIGS will be open to the public at the Bahrain International Convention and Exhibition Centre from 27th February until 1st March, 2014. It is being held under the patronage of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and with the support of the King’s Wife Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, who is President of NIAD. Visitors to BIGS include VIP’s, architects, consultants, developers, and other industry professionals, as well as retail consumers.

“Visitors to this year’s show will be amazed at the technological advances that have been made in recent years, both in industrial agriculture and domestic gardening. Many of these technologies are already available for use and are commercially viable,” Shaikha Maram, added.

Among the technologies on display are various types of greenhouses, ‘green walls’ (walls used as a growing medium, partially or completely covered with vegetation), ‘green roofs’ (planting on the roofs of buildings), and kitchen gardens and other technologies that help grow plants in a domestic environment. Also on display will be the latest in urban planning and landscaping, and methods of producing, treating and economically utilising water.

Among the more than 130 exhibitors taking part in the event are 20 international companies who will be participating through the UNIDO stand. Another 31 regional and international companies will be exhibiting independently. The Royal Gardens and Farms Directorate, which is under the Royal Court of Oman, is participating with a large stand showcasing the rich agricultural products of the Sultanate of Oman. Other countries participating include France, Belgium, Spain, Japan, Morocco, Uganda, Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Jordan, Iraq, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia.

This year’s BIGS Farmer’s Market will host six Bahraini farmers (chosen at random through a raffle draw), as well as the Agricultural Center for Vocational Training that is run by the Bahrain Society for Mental Disability and Autism.

One of the most popular attractions from last year, international marine abstract artist Christopher Hogan, is again exhibiting his work. He will also be conducting art classes for visitors, including a session for autistic children.

Shaikha Maram thanked National Bank of Bahrain for its sponsorship of BIGS’s main theme stand three years in a row. Other supporters of the event include Bahrain World Trade Center and the Four Seasons Hotel, which are sponsoring the event’s anniversary “10 Years of Growth” stand.

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