Agriculture in Bahrain historically is an important sector of the economy. Before the development of the oil industry, date palm cultivation dominated Bahrain’s agriculture, producing sufficient dates for both domestic consumption and export. At least twenty-three varieties of dates are grown even now, and the leaves, branches, buds, and flowers of the date palm also are used extensively. Water constraints and unavailability of agricultural land are the major constraints in crop production in Bahrain.
From the 1950s through the 1970s, changing food consumption habits, as well as the increasing salinity of the aquifers that served as irrigation sources led to a gradual decline in date cultivation. By the 1980s, a significant number of palm groves had been replaced by new kinds of agricultural activities, including vegetable gardens, nurseries for trees and flowers, poultry production, and dairy farm.
Crops like cereals were not produced in Bahrain and due to lack of water resources. Hydroponic systems are getting attention in Bahrain and companies also started using them for vegetable and fruits production as this process requires less quantity of water and no land or soil.
Increase in population and future prospects in food industry are reasons for increase in consumption. The food crisis of 2007 forced Bahrain to import fruits and vegetables at a very high price as major exporters like Russia, Ukraine, India, etc. stopped food exports which forced Bahrain to import food items from international market at a very high price.
Key factors in the growth of fruits and vegetables market in Bahrain are:
Increasing salinity of the aquifers and the harsh climatic conditions are the biggest challenges for the fruits and vegetables market.
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