Food security is an issue that’s at the forefront of Qatar’s priorities on the developmental level, due to the essential role it plays in economic independence of the state and food security is also important to realise the 2030 Qatar National Vision.
The Committee charged with following up on the implementation of food security objectives in the public and private sectors focuses on issues such as local production, import plans, and diversification of imports sources.
It is also concerned with building up a strategic reserve of products.
The country’s strategy is focused on the expansion of local production of agricultural and food products that Qatar has a comparative advantage in.
Some of these products include fresh vegetables, dairy products, dates, red and white meat, eggs and fish.
The strategic reserve, meanwhile, is focused on products that are not produced in Qatar and those that can be stored for long periods such as wheat, sugar, rice and cooking oil.
The country’s national strategy for food security 2019-2023 came with the aim of co-ordinating efforts between different authorities to get the optimal use out of the country’s natural and water resources, and to insulate the country’s food needs from shocks.
The strategy proved its success in dealing with different crises and emergencies such as the unjust blockade and the outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19) worldwide, as local markets continued to see a sustained flow of goods of all kinds.
The country is ranked top among its Arab peers in the Global Food Security Index for the year 2019.
It is also ranked 13th overall in the index.
HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari said during the recent Extraordinary Meeting of Ministers of Commerce in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) States that Qatar has worked, even before the outbreak of the pandemic, to take all measures to ensure the regular flow of food and medicines as well as all medical supplies through many of its trading partners around the world.
The Minister of Commerce along with the Minister of Municipality and Environment signed on March 26 a number of deals that would increase the country’s strategic reserve of food products.
The initiative came in line with the food security strategy of the country, and the efforts of the ministry of commerce and industry to enhance partnership between the public and private sectors in order to establish Qatar as one of the most prominent countries in the region in those regards.
Under these contracts, there will be an increase in the strategic reserve of products such as wheat, rice, cooking oils, sugar, frozen red meat, milk with long duration dates, and powdered milk.
Director of Food Security at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, Masoud Jarallah al-Marri told Qatar News Agency (QNA) that the biggest achievements in the field were increasing local production, which helped the country take huge steps towards sufficiency in products such as agricultural products and fish.
He discussed Qatar’s local production over the past three years and said that self-sufficiency in vegetables increased from 20% in 2017 to 2% in March this year, dates grew from 84% to 86%, dairy products reached self-sufficiency, as did poultry.
Red meat rose from 13% to 18, and eggs doubled from 14% to 28% as of last March.
Production from fisheries in the country equates to 76% of the local market’s needs.
In terms of bolstering the contribution of the private sector in food security, he said that ministry offered many strategic agricultural projects to the private sector, the most important of which were fish farming projects with floating cages at sea and vegetable production projects using Greenhouse technology, shrimp farming projects, organic fertiliser production projects, and camel milk production projects.
Meanwhile, Assistant Undersecretary for Manufacturing Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Mohamed Hassan al-Mali told QNA that the food products industry was the top priority of the last three years.
He said that the industry has 80 factories, which represents 9% of the total number of manufacturing factories in the country.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry stressed last year that they have placed many plans that will help the country deal with any fluctuations in the market related to any disruption to global supply chains or a decline in local and global production levels due to natural disasters or any other disruptions.
Qatar has strengthened its co-operation with various international entities concerned with the development of the global trade systems for agricultural products.
Examples of such organisations include the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the G20, and the World Trade Organisation among others.
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