Qatar's production of some vegetables exceeds consumption rates, Executive Director of Business Relations at Hassad Food, Mubarak al-Sahouti, has said.
Al-Sahouti said that the volume of vegetables received from local farmers increased by 20% in the current season, compared to the previous season.
In an interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA), he said the local market needs about 2,000 tonnes of cucumbers and about 5000-6000 tonnes of tomatoes per month. "These needs are secured through Qatari farms during the agricultural seasons," he said noting that the quantities supplied currently to sales outlets by Mahaseel for Marketing and Agricultural Services, a subsidiary of Hassad, exceed these figures.
Al-Sahouti pointed to Hassad's actual contribution to achieving food security, noting that the company established Mahaseel for Marketing and Agricultural Services in 2018, in coordination with the Ministry of Municipality, with the aim of supporting local farmers who face challenges in marketing their products.
He noted the high demand for local vegetables, especially during the winter season, during which shops completely depend on local products.
Al-Sahouti referred to a noticeable decline in imports during this period, due to the abundance of local production which is characterised by high quality and freshness.
He explained that the establishment of Mahaseel was in line with the investment strategy of Hassad, which aims to contribute to achieving food security and increasing the agricultural crop in cooperation with the Ministry of Municipality, based on actual studies of the needs of the local market. Its establishment contributed to determining the mechanism for providing appropriate support to the private agricultural sector, thus contributing to achieving self-sufficiency by supplying local vegetables, such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, and zucchini.
Al-Sahouti said Mahaseel received about 5,000 tonnes of local vegetables a month at peak times.
In terms of supporting Qatari farmers, he noted that Mahaseel purchased local products at incentive prices set by the Ministry of Municipality in support of the local product, which is classified into grades according to its quality.
Regarding the selling price of outlets, he indicated that they are subject to the compulsory pricing of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in accordance with its price policies. Mahaseel deals with all farmers after submitting the required data and completing the registration procedures in accordance with the conditions of the Ministry of Municipality. Then, the products are supplied to the company's headquarters in Al Sailiya.
With regard to the Pre-contracting Programme (Daman) for Purchasing Local Vegetables, Al-Sahouti revealed that the number of farms registered in the programme has gone up to 120. Through this programme, a pre-contract is made with local producers to purchase their products, along with setting guaranteed prices and developing a production plan according to the needs of the local market based on an agricultural calendar, which encourages farmers and ensures the sale of products at prices that achieve good income for them.
Established in 2018, Mahaseel supports registered farms and enables them to market their produce at good prices.
Mahaseel, in cooperation with the Ministry of Municipality, also provides training, logistical and technical services to about 400 local farms.