Under the patronage of His Majesty King Hamad, Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, wife of the King and National Initiative for Agricultural Development (NIAD) consultative council president, inaugurated Bahrain International Garden Show (BIGS) 2018, at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre, Sanabis.
More than 155 exhibitors are taking part in the show which is focused on good agricultural practices to ensure food safety.
The four-day show is open from 10am to 9pm from today until Sunday.
Princess Sabeeka said the slogan of this year’s show sheds light on sound agricultural practices and exhibits the latest technologies related to agricultural production processes and irrigation of crops to ensure their quality and safety.
Princess Sabeekahonoured the winners of Bahrain Garden Club contest that included HM the King Cup in the garden category, the late Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa Cup in the flowers category, HRH Princess Sabeekabint Ibrahim Al Khalifa Cup in the professional and amateur photographers category, Shaikha Haya bint Mohammed Al Khalifa Cup in the exotic and rare plants category, in addition to the winner of best environmental garden.
She later toured the show.
“Expanding Bahrain’s ‘green zone’ to boost food security is a priority,” said Works, Municipality Affairs and Urban Planning Minister EssamKhalaf. It is in line with the promising strategy for sustainable agricultural development, he said at the opening.
He said the theme of this year’s exhibition will further develop the agricultural sector by tapping on skills and knowledge about farming and exchanging successful experiences.
The Agriculture and Marine Resources directorate is running a pavilion dedicated to Food Safety and Quality Control Unit while the Health Ministry is represented by the Food Control and Food Analysis Laboratory pavilion.
Participating for the first time this year in the annual show, British landscape artist and expert David Harber is displaying unique handcrafted stainless steel sun-dials in Hall One’s Market Zone.
“David Harber started making stainless steal sun-dials 25 years ago through his creative mind and technical skills,” sales manager Jeremy Stopford told the GDN.
The sun-dials are calibrated based on the latitude and longitude of the country which they are destined for and are all crafted by hand.
The Market Zone also features first-time participant from Mali, AbobakerFofana, who is a natural colour dyeing expert who works only with natural dyes and natural fabrics.
The artist passionately creates his own dyes by crushing different leaves into his hand-woven cotton textiles, which are on display.
“There are about 800 species of plants which contain the indigo colours which I harvest to use in all my textile work,” he said.
“The alchemy involved in creating different shades of blue from green leaves is something amazing,” he added.
Throughout the four-day show, the NIAD has a number of workshops organised in collaboration with four Greek organic food companies aimed at introducing participants to organic and natural products.
“We wanted to incorporate the organic food-tasting seminar in the show because it goes hand-in-hand with this year’s theme of Food Safety and Human Health,” said NIAD International marketing head Sana Al Shamlan.
“The purpose is to spread the culture of organic food in Bahrain and educate people about the different qualities of food available such as different olive oils and honey,” she added.
Five international speakers will address seminars, which take place from 1pm to 3pm on all three days, while experts will be available throughout the event to answer questions and provide advice and insight into different agricultural areas.
The show also features a section dedicated to 14 Bahraini farmers who will showcase their local produce for the duration of the show.
One of the farmers taking part in the show focused on introducing children to native Bahraini herbs such as mint and thyme.
“I am the first female farmer to participate in the garden show this year, and I hope to increase awareness about Bahraini herbs,” said Najat Abdullah Mattar.
“I was selected to participate in the show through a draw of all the farmers who participate in the Bahraini Farmers’ Market.”
Bahrain’s government, ministries and private sector have also set up stands in Hall Two’s Awareness Zone, which includes official and educational institutions aiming to raise awareness about agricultural issues through educational programmes.
“This is the most important exhibition for our company in Bahrain and we participate every year since its inception,” said GPIC president Dr Abdulrahman Jawahery.
“The show theme ties directly with the products that we produce which is urea, and we have recently donated 1,000 bags of urea to Bahraini farmers to support agriculture in Bahrain.”
DrJawahery said it was of vital importance to educate children about contributing to the greenery of the kingdom.
The Khlasi Garden includes many activities, educational games and workshops set up for children of different ages such as pot painting, crafting flower necklaces and art on wood among other awareness programmes aimed at nurturing a healthier generation.
Tickets are priced at 500 fils, and one ticket allows entry on all four days.