Local vegetable are available in abundance across various outlets, including the dedicated yards.
The Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) plans to implement from March the GCC Standard Specifications on imported agricultural products across all the ports and entry points of the country.
While ensuring the quality of imported agricultural products, the initiative would also help in stabilising the prices in the local market and guarantee that local farmers and farm owners does not incur losses, local Arabic daily Arrayah reported.
An agreement has been made among the entities concerned including the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) to implement the new step. The MME has pointed out that the recent considerable drop in the retail prices of vegetables is mainly due to the surplus supply of the locally produced vegetables of different types in addition to the abundance of imported vegetables.
In response to the concerns of local farmers and farm owners regarding losses due to such drop in prices that does not even cover the cost of production, Arrayah reported that the MME noted that the volume of local production of vegetables during this period of the year often reaches its peak, especially from January until April, thereby causing a considerable drop in retail prices. This is also coupled with the abundant availability of imported vegetables.
There will be intensive joint inspection campaigns by the MME and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to ensure the quality of imported products, besides ensuring dedicated spaces at the various retailers' to display local products and reduce the consequences of competitions from similar imported products. This would eventually help in stabilising and improving prices of the local farm produce.
The MME also attributed the considerable increase in the local production of vegetables to the great support given to the farmers and providing them with all the necessities of production and the related sophisticated technology such as the distribution of as many as 3,400 greenhouses to all the registered farms across the country.
More support will be given to the farms due to the key role they play towards ensuring food security. The MME has also launched various marketing programmes since 2012 such as the yards for selling local agricultural products, Qatar farms programme, the premium product programme and the purchase of dates from local farms, in addition to Mahaseel Food Company which guarantees the cost prices for the participating farms in case of a severe drop in prices, Arrayah added.