Several farms in Qatar are expanding their operations early this year, raising livestock apart from growing various types of vegetables, a prominent Qatari agriculturist has said.
“It’s peak season and we have seen many new (active) farms in the market in 2019, they have expanded in size more than in numbers,” Agrico managing director Nasser Ahmed al-Khalaf told Gulf Times.
A private Qatari agricultural development company established in 2011, Agrico produces organic vegetables and fruits year-round at its 120,000sqm farm near Al Khor, and aims to help Qatar achieve food security.
"Such development will further boost the country’s agricultural sector and self-sufficiency efforts," he explained.
Apart from using hydroponics to produce fresh organic vegetables, al-Khalaf said more farms are also into raising chickens, goats and sheep in large numbers.
“The increase could reach over 1mn sqm (land area) this year in different farms across the country,” he noted. “There are plans by the government to increase another 1mn sqm between 2019 and 2020.”
“I estimate over 5mn sqm of increase in the extent of agriculture farms by 2021-2022,” al-Khalaf added, citing Qatar government’s full support towards local production.
It is learnt that many non-productive farms have become active and their number is also rapidly increasing due to the growing demand for fresh produce.
The Qatar market will also see lots of different products including animal feed, while fish farming is underway, said al-Khalaf.
A QR237.7mn Aquatic Fisheries and Research Centre in Ras Matbakh was completed a few months ago, according to the Ministry of Municipality and Environment’s Aquaculture Department.
The high tech facility aims to develop Qatar’s aquaculture sector and conduct experiments and researches. It will also set up adequate aquaculture techniques by using the latest rearing fish and shrimp technology suitable for local fish species.
Meanwhile, Agrico is continuously producing fresh vegetables and it is now supporting other farms and local agriculture investors to develop their hydroponics systems.
Al-Khalaf expressed confidence that using advanced technology and sophisticated agricultural system like hydroponics will give local farms higher yields and better quality fresh produce.
Qatar’s daily consumption reaches around 600 tonnes of vegetables and 400 tonnes of fruits, which can be achieved locally by operating 6-8mn sq m of greenhouses.
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