Prominent Qatari environmentalist Dr Saif Ali al-Hajari has appealed for individual as well as collective efforts to ensure food security in the country.
"People can convert the vacant places around their houses to vegetable gardens or plant other food seedlings," the chairman of Friends of the Environment Centre told Gulf Times.
"They can also make use of the rooftops for farming purposes. Now, there are many new ideas for farming. There are a number of advanced technologies and even in a little space they can cultivate and produce large amount of vegetables and other food products.”
“It is up to the individuals. People can plan it according to their convenience as well as availability of the land and other resources. However, I would encourage everyone to start planting and producing some of the items for their needs,” he exhorted.
Al-Hajari noted that it was the obligation of the present generation in the country to ensure food security for the future generations.
“We have to seriously look at two things. We need to reduce the wastage of food as we throw away a substantial quantity of food. Second thing is to apply new technology, provide training for the people and make them aware of the need for food security for the coming generations. These two aspects will help us in a big way to become self-sufficient in food products to a great extent.”
The official noted that Qatar is a small country with a small population but the population is increasing steadily. He highlighted, “The world is witnessing great demand for food and the same will be reflected everywhere. As the population goes up, we will also need more food produced in the country. A great area of land in our country is not used for any purpose. So this land can be converted for agricultural purposes.”
Al-Hajari felt that within a few years, Qatar is likely to produce about 40% of food products that the country needs.
“It needs time to be self-sufficient in food production in the country and the population in Qatar is also growing steadily. The new policy is to increase the land for agriculture and provide more fund for it. The investment in agriculture will definitely lead the country to reach its goals of self-sufficiency in food products,” he maintained.
“We are now using a number of new technologies and new ideas in farming. This can help us to have our own food for the future and the government now is supporting farmers and trying to introduce new ideas and technologies in a big way. We have the vision of providing food security for the next generation of Qatar,” added al-Hajari.