Entrepreneurs and factory owners in Qatar have stepped up efforts to help the country become self-reliant in terms of dairy and food production.
One of the key players in the field is Gulf Food Production Co, which owns the Rawa brand and is working towards the goal of achieving self-sufficiency in dairy production.
Local Arabic daily Arrayah spoke to Mohamed Ali al-Kuwari, business development manager at the company. He said the company is set to introduce "8-10 new production lines within 3-4 months to reach a production capacity of 240,000 litres of milk and juice a day", with the capacity to produce dozens of varieties with different flavours.
Mohamed Ali al-Kuwari
This will account for around 40% of the needs of the local market pertaining to these products, he points out, adding that through a short-term plan, the company's facilities aim to considerably increase production and reach a level where they can export their products.
He says the production unit of the company is currently working at full capacity. The products are sold in the local retail market and also supplied - on contract - to Qatar Airways and different government entities.
Further, he stresses that the blockade imposed on the country has not affected the progress of work at the food factory. On the contrary, it has boosted co-ordination and collaboration among local companies to increase their production capacity to meet the needs of the local market.
Al-Kuwari pointed out that the government was quick to ease the difficulties faced by local producers and businessmen in order to help them maintain steady and uninterrupted business operations.
Regarding the availability of raw materials after the blockade was announced, al-Kuwari said the announcement of the blockade was sudden and meant to create a "shock in the local market". However, the "initial shock" was quickly absorbed and alternative sources were secured in an expeditious manner.
"I am sure the biggest losers in this blockade are companies in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, where contracts worth QR30mn have been suspended. We immediately secured alternative supplies from Oman, Turkey and other friendly countries. Further, we brought new production machines through direct lines from Turkey," he told the daily.
Al-Kuwari stressed that the blockade is a good opportunity for local food producers and manufactures to enhance their production capacity. In addition, they have gained the trust of the local market thanks to the supply of good-quality products at competitive prices.
Regarding co-operation with Omani businessmen and companies, al-Kuwari said this is a positive and productive move as they have shown great support for their Qatari counterparts. Further, the Omani government has extended all possible assistance to ease the flow of goods into the country.
Yesterday, Gulf Times published a report in which a Qatari businessman predicted that the country will become self-sufficient in dairy products in nine months as a cattle facility is fast coming up in the desert north of Doha. Ramiz al-Khayat, vice-president, Baladna, said, "We're working seven days a week and the new dairy facility will be solution to the problem facing the country in the wake of the blockade.”
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