MoU to strengthen co-operation and facilitate development of a business cluster in Qatar Free Zones dedicated to advanced agriculture technology and the food industry
The Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) and Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen co-operation and facilitate the development of a business cluster in Qatar Free Zones dedicated to advanced agriculture technology and the food industry.
This step comes in line with Qatar’s strategy to achieve food security, promote economic diversification, and empower the private sector.
The signing ceremony was attended by HE the Minister of Municipality and Environment and Acting Minister of State for the Council of Ministers Affairs, Dr Abdulla bin Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Subaie, and HE the Minister of State and QFZA chairman, Ahmad bin Mohamed al-Sayed, as well as several senior officials from MME and QFZA.
The agreement was signed by Sheikh Dr Faleh bin Nasser al-Thani, Assistant Undersecretary for Agriculture and Fisheries Affairs at the MME, and Abdulla al-Misnad, deputy CEO at QFZA.
The signing was followed by an introductory tour of Ras Bufontas Free Zone and the Business & Innovation Park to showcase the advanced infrastructure and services offered to investors in the free zones.
The MoU will help attract investment by facilitating investor delegation visits organised by MME and QFZA. It will also support the hosting of various events, including discussions on investment sectors, bilateral meetings between companies, high-level economic and trade forums, and other economic and commercial activities that will be held locally or internationally.
Furthermore, it will help provide training opportunities and co-hosting training programmes, as well as enable the exchange of knowledge about international exhibitions and communication with investors.
Al-Subaie discussed the four-pronged National Food Security Strategy, aimed at strengthening Qatar’s food system. The strategy is based first on domestic production, which focuses on perishable strategic goods that are difficult to store for long periods.
The second focus is on the strategic storage of grain and oil commodities that can be stored for long periods, such as wheat, rice, sugar, and edible oils.
The third is the domestic market, which relies on the development of a system of transport, marketing, storage, and handling of foodstuff to ensure its quality, safety, and fair price for both producers and consumers.
The fourth and final focus is international trade and logistics services, which depend on the diversification and security of food import sources and the provision of the necessary logistics services.
Thus, the important co-operation between QFZA and MME looks at integrating efforts to achieve the National Food Security Strategy and create investment opportunities that would benefit the national economy.
Al-Subaie emphasised the ministry's readiness to provide all the required facilities under the MoU to ensure the integration of all strategies aimed at achieving the Qatar National Vision 2030.
Al-Sayed said, “This partnership marks a major milestone in our journey to localise advanced technology and innovation to achieve Qatar’s self-sufficiency and sustainable development goals, which is especially important now as we continue to face the challenges posed by climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The strategic location of the free zones, the logistics opportunities they offer to global and local companies, and the independent food storage facilities in Hamad Port support these goals by contributing to enhancing the capabilities of our zones, and enabling investors and companies from various sectors, including the food and agritech sector to access the Gulf and regional market.”
He stressed, “We aim to contribute to providing an integrated work environment to build an advanced business cluster for agritech and the food industry to support building a contemporary economy that cements Qatar's position as an attractive destination for investments and a hub for innovation and talent across all sectors.”
Al-Sayed emphasised the pivotal role the free zones play in localising supply chains, embracing innovation in various sectors, and offering second-to-none competitive advantages, including proximity to the airport and seaport, providing an optimal environment for businesses to grow, and continuously developing world-class technological and logistical infrastructure.
The Qatar Free Zones are designed to be an essential driver of innovation, sustainability and growth in key sectors supporting the country's value chains. Agriculture technology is booming in Qatar, growing at a rate of more than 6% annually.
Qatar has demonstrated great economic flexibility and high efficiency in recent years, having achieved self-sufficiency in many food sectors. This has enhanced local production and created investments in many new areas, including vertical farming and advanced irrigation systems.
QFZA recently partnered with Eat Just to establish the first regional centre for sustainable food production in the Umm Alhoul Free Zone, with the aim of supporting the development of a sustainable global food system.
The Council of Ministers recently approved the National Climate Change Plan, which considers economic diversification an important component that contributes to combating climate change. This plan is an essential element to achieving the QNV 2030 and is in line with the UN sustainable development goals.