The lack of adequate infrastructure for exporting the surplus of local production of vegetables during the peak of the season is the main hurdle for starting exporting, a number of local farm owners have said.
Speaking to local Arabic daily Arrayah, the farm owners said that even though the Ministry Municipality permitted last year the export of the surplus of locally produced vegetables outside the country, the high cost of exporting is too high.
Such costs include preserving the vegetables, packaging, storage and customs fees.
Farm owner Ali Noh said that the retail prices of locally produced vegetables are low compared with imported products.
The farmer also gets low rates for the produce, he said, when compared to the price in which those same produce is sold at the various retail outlets, further impacting the productivity of local farms.
Noh said that sometimes the cost of production is higher than the revenue generated, leading to losses for farms.
He said that the target market for Qatari produce would be the neighbouring countries, which already export their vegetables to Qatar.
Accordingly, Noh suggested the introduction of more protective measures for local products.
Fellow farm owner Yousef al-Tahir said that even though the export of the surplus of local produce is now permitted, the export process involves challenges that include the approval of the country of the product ios to be exported to.
He said that most farms cannot comply with the necessary requirements of the export process.
Al-Tahir suggested that instead of exporting locally produced vegetables, a curb should be put on the amount of imported vegetables.
Farm owner Dr Rashid al-Kuwari said that there are a number of potential foreign markets for vegetables produced in Qatar, especially during the winter time.
However, he said, while the opportunities of export are many, there is a lack of adequate infrastructure and expertise for this.
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