The Bahrain fruits and vegetable market was valued at USD 175.7 million in 2019 and is expected to register a CAGR of 6.8% during the forecast period (2020-2025). Dates are the primary domestic crop produced in Bahrain despite a negligible increase of 0.8% in production from 2016 to 2018. In the year 2018, dates cornered the largest share of 43.7% of the overall fresh produce of the country.
The increased production of fruits and vegetables in Bahrain has been paired with improved agricultural techniques, especially the adoption of hydroponics and infrastructure linking farmers with urban populations. Vegetables are produced both in the open field and under controlled conditions, such as polytunnels and greenhouses. Greenhouse cultivation is particularly common for crops like tomatoes, cucumbers, and eggplants. Legumes are mainly cultivated as part of a sound crop rotation mechanism.
Key Market Trends
Rising Import and Exports of Fresh Produce in the Country
There is increasing cooperation between Middle Eastern countries, with respect to the trade of fruits and vegetables. The intraregional trade scenario of Middle Eastern countries, such as Bahrain, with respect to the other countries in the region, reveals that Bahrain has been a net importer of several fruits and vegetables in the Middle Eastern region. However, with respect to vegetables, such as tomatoes, Bahrain is a net exporter to other member countries. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are the major trading partners with Bahrain, with respect to fruits and vegetables.
Intra-regional trade for crops, such as dates and tomatoes, has witnessed a steady growth, especially during 2016-2018. Additionally, Bahrain also has a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US, which has bolstered the trade with North and South American countries. Thus, Bahrain's emphasis on joint collaborations with these global players is expected to further promote the trade of fresh produce in the country.
Tomatoes to Dominate the Fresh Produce of Vegetables in Bahrain
In the year 2019, the production of tomatoes in Bahrain was more than 4,000 metric ton, while growing at a CAGR of 1.6% during the forecast period. Domestic production of tomatoes is inadequate and more and more tomatoes have been imported for the past several years. As a result, the proportional contribution of imports to total consumption is more than the contribution of domestic production. According to FAOSTAT data over the period 2, the proportional contribution of production to the demand is only 11.9%, while the rest is widely catered through imports.
However, few major players, like Pure Harvest and Peninsular Farms, are making huge investments to satiate the domestic demand, but they are unable to keep pace with the country’s rising demand. Furthermore, in a bid to encourage local farmers and to raise awareness about the range of healthy delights in their stores, retail hypermarket giants, Lulu, and Saar, featured “Bahrain Farmers Market in 2019”. Such awareness campaigns are likely to provide encouragement to the local farmers, thereby promoting the overall supply in the country.
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