Qatar on track for self-sufficiency in food production
June 10 2019 12:03 AM

It is an undisputed fact that local food production has grown by leaps and bounds in Qatar since June 5, 2017 when the unjust and illegal blockade against the country was imposed by a four-nation group. The announcement last week that Mahaseel, a subsidiary of Hassad Food, launched the first phase of marketing local produce is just another example of Qatar’s achievements in food security. Yet another testament to the country’s success in this regard is the news that the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) is getting ready for the official opening of the QR230mn Aquatic Research Centre at Ras Matbakh this month. Hassad, Qatar’s premier investor in food sector, earlier launched the first solar powered irrigation technology in the local fodder sector, aiming to produce around 20,000 tonnes of fodder annually. Though this column will not suffice to list all of Qatar’s incredible successes over the past two years of the blockade the above mentioned examples give an indication of the situation. 
Mahaseel’s latest initiative is part of efforts to ease the burden on the local farmers as well as to enhance the quality and quantity of the local produce. More than 124 productive farms have now registered with Mahaseel, to benefit from the company’s marketing services, which were developed to ease the burden on the local farmers. This is equivalent to around 16% of a total of 800 local productive farms across the country.
Prior to launching the initiative, Mahaseel’s senior executives met with the registered farm owners to explain the operation process for receiving the produce, sorting, packaging and then marketing in the local market, to ensure the operations run efficiently and smoothly, so that the product is delivered to the consumer in the best form.
As Hassad aims to support the local market needs, it will continue to receive and market the local produce from the company’s current assembly point in the central market in Abu Hamour until Mahaseel’s permanent headquarters in A’Sailiyah is ready.
The official opening of the Aquatic Research Centre is part of Qatar’s plans to develop the fisheries sector. It is one of the largest projects of its kind with its research, production and technical support aspects. The centre will work on pursue scientific research and studies to look into the best ways of fish breeding, with special focus on the local varieties of economic value to increase the volume of domestic production and supply the needs of the local market as well as for export purposes.
The centre has special aquaculture facilities and a unit for fish breeding with a capacity of 2.4mn fish larvae with four hatching seasons a year. Spread across 110,000sq m, the centre has the potential to raise its production capability to 10mn fish a year. There is also another unit for shrimps which could ultimately produce six tonnes a year.
Qatar has been working to achieve 90% self-sufficiency in fish production locally by 2023. The target for this year is 79%. With regard to shrimp production, the strategy is to reach 100% self-sufficiency by 2023 by touching 1,000 tonnes annually in the Al-Arish Area. It is only a matter of time before more success stories emerge as far as Qatar’s quest for self-sufficiency in food production is concerned.

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