The upcoming Shura Council should work to draft new legislation that will promote investment in food security projects by private sector entities in the country, and the laws should be flexible to keep up with the changing requirements of the local economy, a number of Shura Council election candidates have stressed.
Speaking at a forum hosted by local Arabic daily Arrayah, they stressed the need for working out effective solutions to issues related to food security, as well as for supporting producers and investors to achieve the desired food security according to Qatar National Vision 2030.
Further, they said there is a pressing need for clear legislation that will encourage investment in this sector, while increasing the incentives given to the private sector and encouraging investors to expand related commercial and industrial projects.
Owaida al-Kuwari, a candidate for the 22nd constituency, said the upcoming Shura Council will have to resolve various issues and introduced clear laws and regulations that address such key matters. For instance, there is no clear support for the local poultry industry, as imported items are sold at much lower retail prices that would not cover the cost of local production. The entities concerned form multiple committees to address such issues, but the need of the hour is to have a unified entity to resolve them, he felt.
Ghanim Ibrahim al-Mohannadi, a candidate for the 20th constituency, suggested the creation for a dedicated society for fishermen to make their voice reach the decision-makers. He said this society can include representatives from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Municipality and Environment's (MME) Fisheries Department. Besides, a balance should be maintained between the interests of consumers and fishermen.
He said there is another demand that the export of fish be permitted in case there is a surplus in the local production. He acknowledged that the MME provides good support for fishermen, but more needs to be done to achieve the targeted outcome.
Abdulrahman al-Nama, a candidate for the 11th constituency, said the recent years have seen a major trend of government support and encouragement for the private sector and expansion of local investment, in addition to having partnerships among the private and public sectors. However, he said there is a need to issue new laws that will back the independence of the business community and protect them against competition from the State in the same fields of activity. Further, the State has to provide them with easy loans and necessary services to support private sector projects, he added.
He also called for benefiting from advanced technologies in the field of agriculture, while referring to the regulation of water usage and imposition of strict rules regarding this. In addition to addressing these issues, al-Nama said his programme also aims to involve people more in the process of decision-making and help their voice reach the authorities concerned.
Khalid Mohamed Abdullatif al-Mutawa, a candidate for the 12th constituency, said there is a need to carefully study the challenges and difficulties facing food security in Qatar and address them accordingly. He added that it is important to make a quantum leap in related fields, in particular agriculture, farming, livestock and fisheries, to cope with the needs of the population.
Hassa Abdulla al-Sulaiti, a candidate for the 3rd constituency, said she believes that the country's food security will not be achieved without the proper use of sophisticated technology in the field to overcome the challenges involved, especially the shortage of irrigation water and the hot climate.
She also stressed that the country should benefit from both local and foreign expertise in the field to attain the desired food self-sufficiency and avoid any adverse circumstances that may impact this.
Aminah Bilal al-Qubaisi, a candidate for the 15th constituency, said young Qataris should be trained to adopt small projects in the field of agriculture and raise livestock to avoid potential losses and gradually gain experience. She added that the entities concerned should encourage this and consider it as one of the major sources of income.