Qatar aims to meet 70% of food demand locally
QATAR’S energy resources have given it one of the world’s highest per capita incomes, a futuristic urban skyline and enough clout to host the 2022 soccer World Cup.
But its wealth may not be enough for the arid state to achieve an even more ambitious goal: becoming largely self-sufficient in food.
Like other oil-rich, water-poor Gulf states, Qatar has been investing in large areas of farmland overseas to ensure access to food supplies.
The agricultural arm of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, Hassad Food, has bought land in Sudan and Australia, and has announced plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on agricultural projects in countries including Kenya, Brazil, Argentina, Turkey and Ukraine. But in contrast to the other Gulf states, Qatar also aims to produce most of its food domestically, by spending massively to boost crop yields and convert semi-desert into agricultural land.
Heir Apparent His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani issued a decree this year to organise the Qatar National Food Security Programme (QNFSP), tackling one of the most pressing challenges that Qatar is facing.
“Today, there are 1,400 farms in Qatar and they will increase to 3,000 farms with the new plan,” QNFSP Chairman Fahad bin Mohammed al Attiya said.
“We anticipate that domestic food production, if new technologies are applied and the efficiency system enforced, can easily reach 60 percent of our market needs.
We anticipate that domestic demand can be met by 60 to 70 percent,” Attiya said.