Qatar has displayed a strong commitment in rolling out its food security programmes that are in line with global initiatives and targets, Oxford Business Group (OBG) stated in a new Covid-19 Response Report that OBG produced in partnership with retail chain LuLu Hypermarket.
“Faced with the challenges of water scarcity, harsh climatic conditions and infertile soil, Qatar has developed wide-ranging policies and strategies to achieve food security by 2030,” stated the report titled ‘Food Security in Qatar’.
The report maps out Qatar’s successful efforts to strengthen food security and enhance self-sufficiency by stepping up domestic production capacity and easing reliance on imports. It also provides in-depth analysis of the topic, ranging from food production to retail, in an easy-to-navigate and accessible format, supported by key data and infographics.
Due to the challenges of producing food under harsh climatic conditions, Qatar is implementing programmes to help farmers overcome water scarcity and low-nutrient soil, in line with global targets on climate-smart agriculture, the report noted. Qatar also supports the International Fund for Agricultural Development, which seeks to provide smallholder farmers with assistance to mitigate climate-related risks, it further stated.
“While the prosperous country does not require financial assistance from foreign partners and international institutions to advance its food security ambitions, it seeks to align and harmonise its local strategies with global initiatives and targets, especially those falling under UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 (zero hunger) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
“It has also been contributing to global partnerships and supports other countries in addressing food security and climate change through the Qatar Fund for Development,” the report stated.
Qatar has adopted the UN SDGs as a strategic framework to achieve its long-term national development priorities, including the area of food security. In particular, SDG 2, which focuses explicitly on ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture, has been incorporated into the Qatar National Food Security Programme (QNFSP), the report said.
As part of the UN FAO, Qatar is a party to the Save Food Initiative, a global scheme aimed at reducing food loss and waste, according to the report. It stated that the Ministry of Municipality and Environment's (MME) Food Waste Management Programme was launched to reduce food waste in Qatar with the help of smart technologies.
“The development of green spaces and urban forests is important for improving food systems and environmental sustainability. Through the Park & Plant and Plant Million Trees initiatives implemented in Doha, Qatar is aligning with the UN Green Cities Initiative, which seeks to create sustainable cities and maximise green spaces to generate agricultural produce and forestry,” the report noted.
The MME, according to the report, has initiatives to foster urban-rural linkages and collaboration between local farmers and large retailers. This aligns Qatar with the UN FAO Food for the Cities Initiative, which aims to address the challenges urbanisation poses to food production by building resilient food systems, it stated.
“As a country that widely deploys vertical farming, hydroponic greenhouses, and other technological methods of urban agriculture in an effort to build self-sufficiency, Qatar is aligning its agricultural production with the FAO's Urban Food Agenda programme, a flagship initiative to enhance sustainable food production and nutrition in urban and peri-urban areas, as well as nearby rural spaces,” the report said.
In terms of research and development (R&D), the report stated that Qatar is advancing agricultural development by funding research and using the latest technologies in the fields of engineering and agriculture.
“Through the Food Security Call programme implemented by the MME and the Qatar National Research Fund, the country is developing new planting methods, irrigation systems and crop varieties in line with global initiatives,” it added.