Before long, Qatar could start growing any type of vegetable all-year round and small fruits, such as strawberries as talks are nearing the final stages for the setting up of a 100-hectare greenhouse in the country, Spanish ambassador Ignacio Escobar has said.
With the technology supplied by Spanish joint venture AgriQatar, produce from the greenhouse project “is affordable, making it a profitable venture,” Escobar told Gulf Times of the sidelines of The Big 5 Qatar, which concludes today (September 26) at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre.
“We’re trying to get the finishing touches for the greenhouse project, which is a very important venture for both Qatar and Spain. A Spanish company has set up a very good deal and we’re just waiting for the final touches before the contract could be signed, hopefully in the next few weeks,” Escobar said.
“With this project, which uses hydroponics, Qatar can also export the produce in the future. The project comes from the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME). Through a bidding process, two Qatari companies were chosen and one of them selected the Spanish team,” the ambassador continued.
Escobar stressed that the project, under the auspices of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, assures Qatar “100% self-sufficiency” in specific vegetables throughout the year.
“It would take about a year to get the project running, so as soon as the contract is signed, you could see the first production coming out of the line within about a year, he said, adding that Qatar could also export the produce in the future.
Aside from the food sector, Escobar said Spain is also focused on building materials and other products. He said Qatar and Spain are finalising the implementation of a €200mn joint investment fund.
This month, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani held a meeting in Spain and signed a joint declaration for the development of joint investment projects.
“The two countries have agreed to establish an institutional framework for collaboration and cooperation that will be implemented, on the Spanish side, by Compania Espanola de Financiacion del Desarrollo (Cofides), and on the Qatari side, by the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).
“Both entities will work on the establishment of a joint investment venture to carry out projects in regions of mutual interest, with special emphasis on Latin America,” Cofides said in its website.
“Qatar is very much interested in Latin America, and Spain is the national gateway there because of the language and culture, and the presence of many Spanish companies,” the ambassador said, adding that “Spain will likely import LNG from Qatar” as more Spanish private companies are planning to use it locally or to resell it.
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