The Return of BIGS

by George Middleton

Wed, 08 March 2023

The Return of BIGS 2023

The 2023 edition of Bahrain International Garden Show (BIGS) - the leading gardening and agricultural show in the Arabian Gulf - held under the patronage of HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and supported by HRH Princess Sabeeka bint Ebrahim Al Khalifa, Wife of HM the King and the President of the Advisory Council of the National Initiative for Agricultural Development (NIAD) will be inaugurated on March 9.

NIAD Secretary General, Shaikha Maram bint Isa Al Khalifa, speaks to George Middleton about the exhibition which she believes contributes to creating important opportunities for participating institutions to develop their business and expand the scope of their activities locally, regionally and internationally.

What can we expect from this year’s Bahrain International Garden Show? 
Attendees can expect a lot from this year’s garden show including a wide variety of beautiful goods and services. There will also be a lot of information and valuable knowledge about environmental, agricultural, and water-related topics. Each stand is directed towards awareness; Alba (Aluminium Bahrain) showcases their environmental effort, NOGA will showcase what they do to protect water and what they’ve done with water management. 

There is a nexus between energy, water, and food. Hence, every organisation in the awareness zone, whether one of the major companies behind an educational institution or an NGO, will showcase beneficial information - a learning opportunity for visitors. 

Aside from the workshops, on the commercial side there will be new products and services including a lot of plants and greenery. So, we can say that we provide the platform, and our participants make the show look good, and are the ones that make a difference every year with what they showcase. 

The 2023 edition of Bahrain International Garden Show (BIGS)What sort of contribution does the Garden Show make towards tourism?
From what we can gather from responses we’re getting on our social media channels, people know it, people are waiting for it, and people want to come and visit it. It is a highly anticipated show that will attract people. So yes, it contributes to tourism because it’s one of the social calendar’s highlights regarding exhibitions.

Why is the garden show essential for the agricultural and horticultural sectors? 
For us, it’s an opportunity to showcase results and announce plans; that’s how I see it. It also supports businesses in the industry itself. So on the business side, some people have started with us and announced their presence or launched their company through the Garden Show because they know the exposure they will get on the platform is unique and robust. This has happened with businesses with farmers. The Hoora and Aali Farmers’ Markets came to be due to the farmers’ participation in the Garden Show and their requests for marketing channels and support. They received it, thankfully, and now they’re thriving, and people know them and flock to them. 

On the educational side, I asked the Electricity and Water Authority, which participates every year, why it is essential for them to be a part of the show so I may explain how important it is. They said that it is the best opportunity for them to interact with the public because it’s well-attended and attracts the right kind of people to whom they would like to send their message regarding water conservation and electricity conservation. They’ve been with us ever since the garden shows’ inception and consider it an important opportunity and what they said applies to everybody else. 

The Bahrain International Garden Show is a very good opportunity. It’s the perfect opportunity to learn, and so people plan for it. They put out their best, what they want to say and the strong message they want to see at the venue.

What stands out at this year’s show, and what are you most looking forward to? 
I look forward to having it again after so long. For me, the Garden Show is an extended family that comes together once a year. We miss that. It needs to happen and continue because it has a lot of immeasurable effects afterwards. The fact is that it brings everybody together for three days through that platform and provides the opportunity for exchange, partnership, learning and commerce. I’m looking forward to having it and look forward to what people display because I know they out do themselves every time and I’m very appreciative of their contributions.

Could you tell us about the Bahrain Garden Club Competition?
The Chelsea Flower Show and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) have an annual competition for hobbyists. For years now the garden club has followed suit of the RHS and its Chief who said that he was a keen gardener himself. So when the English community in Bahrain approached him in the 60s to establish a similar organisation in Bahrain, the Bahrain Garden Club was established. 

A year after 1967, the first competition that targeted hobbyists was held, and it’s been happening ever since except for in the year he passed away. They have been very diligent in hosting this competition and it is something that children look forward to because they want to win. It has a positive effect and instills a love for gardening.

So, this comes as a result of what happened in 2003 when HRH Princess Sabeeka went to inaugurate the display of the annual competition; she said this piece of history needs to continue, but it needs to be strengthened. Let’s create a new periodic event that will take it higher and become a platform for commerce, awareness and education.

The Bahrain International Garden Show will take place at Exhibition World Bahrain (EWB) in Sakhir, and will be open to the public on March 9 from 1pm until 9 pm and on March 10 to 12 from 10am to 9pm.