The fifth edition of Mahaseel Festival continues to attract an increasing number of shoppers since it opened on December 23, offering premium fresh produce and other agricultural products from local farms at reasonable prices.
Participating farms and companies at the annual event, organised by Katara – the Cultural Village in co-operation with the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME), vouched for the quality of locally-produced vegetables and fruits they sell.
Flowers and other ornamental plants at Mahaseel's makeshift garden get a fresh shower. PICTURE: Joey Aguilar
A participating company showcases a beehive. PICTURE: Jayan Orma
Some 28 Qatari farms and nine national companies are taking part at the festival this year. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Besides vegetables, many stalls also offer citrus fruits such as lemons. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Flowers of varying colours serve as attraction at the event. PICTURE: Thajudheen
The annual festival offers a variety of premium crops, grown by Qatari farms. PICTURE: Thajudheen
While the festival welcomes an increasing number of shoppers, wearing of face masks and other precautionary measures remain mandatory. PICTURE: Thajudheen
High-quality fresh produce on offer at the fifth edition of Mahaseel Festival, taking place at Katara's southern area. PICTURE: Thajudheen
The festival sees a huge demand for flowers and other ornamental plants. PICTURE: Thajudheen
“There is no comparison. Local products by far are fresher than imported products,” prominent Qatari agriculturist and Agrico managing director Nasser Ahmed al-Khalaf told Gulf Times
Agrico, a private Qatari agricultural development company that produces organic vegetables and fruits in Al Khor, is one of the participating companies at Mahaseel. Some 28 Qatari farms and nine national companies are taking part at the festival, located at Katara’s southern area.
“The Mahaseel Festival every year brings locally-produced products directly to consumers who will be able to purchase fresh products at a cheaper price and the farms make a better margin,” al-Khalaf said.
Mahaseel has become one of the most anticipated events in the country, giving residents the opportunity to buy fresh vegetables, poultry, milk and dairy products, as well as ornamental plants, from different farms and plant nurseries either in bulk or retail.
Many shoppers lauded the festival saying that “there is a wide selection of fresh produce from various local farms which are very affordable”. These include different varieties if bell peppers, cucumbers, green leafy vegetables, zucchini, corn, herbs, tomatoes and lemons, in addition to flowers and other ornamental plants (indoor and outdoor).
Animal meat, free range eggs (duck, chicken, and quail), milk and dairy products, honey, dates, juices, and many more, are also on offer.
The festival also allows local farms and companies to extensively market and promote their products for a long period of time – running until January 2, after which the Mahaseel souq will operate on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays until March 31.
This year, Mahaseel is focused on buying and selling of products. It cancelled all workshops and technical activities, adhering to precautionary measures set by the Ministry of Public Health to ensure the health and safety of staff and visitors.
Wearing of face masks, social distancing, and requiring people to show their Ehteraz mobile app (green code) remain mandatory at the festival.
Al-Khalaf also lauded the private sector saying it has proven its persistence and patriotism to develop the agriculture sector, knowing the high risks and harsh environment in the country.
“There are over 700 vegetables production farms today producing 40% of local consumption. Fresh milk and fresh poultry production has reached 100% of local demand,” he said. “As we anticipated in the past years it is just a matter of time until we become self-sufficient.”