The fact that Qatar is on the right track to achieve food security, thanks to its sound fundamentals, has been evident at the 7th Qatar International Agricultural Exhibition (AgriteQ), which concluded on Friday with the participation of about 90 local farms and more than 50 international companies.
As French livestock intelligence company Allflex’s Middle East and East Africa sales director Thomas Nivert told Gulf Times, Qatar’s use of state-of-the-art technology in developing its agriculture sector will eventually lead to its goal of being self-sufficient.
“Compared to other countries in the region, Qatar now has a very progressive technology and we are happy that it is applying such technological know-how,” he explained. Qatar’s resounding success in dairy production is a good example in this regard. Baladna Food Industries, the largest dairy producer in the country, now has nearly 20,000 cows.
Also announced at AgriteQ was a new initiative by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) and Qatar Development Bank to raise the level of self-sufficiency in eggs production from 28% to 65%. The joint initiative includes the establishment of eight medium-sized projects to produce eggs in registered farms, the Qatar News Agency has reported citing Abdulaziz al-Zeyara, director of the Animal Wealth Department at the MME. These eight projects are divided into four projects with an annual production capacity of 22mn eggs each, and another four with a capacity of 33mn eggs each, he said. In total, these projects will have a total annual production capacity of 220mn eggs. Also revealed were projects to increase production of fish, vegetables, red meat, and shrimps so as to reach self-sufficiency by 2023.
Fish production is expected to reach 90% from the current 74% and vegetables climb to 70% from 24%. The production of red meat will go up to 30% from 18%, Shrimp production will be self-sufficient by 2023 and green fodder production will touch 63% from 56%. Local production of vegetables has reached 24% of the demand or 66,000 tonnes a year. By 2023, vegetable production is expected to climb to 70%. Fresh poultry production has recorded a whopping 124%. Fresh milk production has touched 106%. Current fish production is 74% of the local demand or 15,000 tonnes a year. Ten new products for green fodder production is expected to take the numbers to 63%.
HE the Minister of Municipality and Environment Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Subaie had stressed in January this year the important role played by local agricultural production in the country’s food security programme. In a statement after the opening of Al Sheehaniya Agricultural Products Park, the minister referred to the efforts to raise the efficiency of Qatari agricultural production and improve it in terms of quality through technology transfer and smart agriculture, which helps in the reducing water consumption.
The MME intends to distribute 3,500 greenhouses to farmers during the coming four years. The objective is to increase the number of farms from 200 to 400 over the next three years. The services provided by the MME include the establishment of agricultural production parks featuring 124 Qatari farms, contributing to the marketing of about 30% of the country’s agricultural production. These parks are distributed across the country. Going by the trend, Qatar is witnessing nothing short of a revolution in food production.
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