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Qatar’s food security measures help beat pandemic-related food shortages: OBG

Qatar’s food security measures help beat  pandemic-related food shortages: OBG

Satyendra Pathak
Doha
Qatar’s successful efforts to strengthen food security and enhance self-sufficiency by stepping up domestic production capacity and easing reliance on imports helped the country cope with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Oxford Business Group (OBG) said in a report released on Saturday.
As the pandemic exposed the fragility of regional food supply chains and encouraged Gulf economies to develop their domestic food industries, the report said, Qatar was in somewhat a better position than its neighbours as it had already begun concerted efforts to boost domestic production and diversify imports after a regional trade dispute began in 2017.
“Qatar’s strategy is based primarily on increased investment in, or support for, innovative agri-food businesses, both domestically and overseas, in an effort to maintain reliable and sustainable food supplies. Through Qatar’s National Food Security Programme and related initiatives, there has been a notable increase in agricultural and livestock production since 2017,” the report said.
According to the report entitled ‘Food Security in Qatar’, Qatar has become self-sufficient in dairy and fresh poultry products and has started exporting excess dairy supply. In addition, the number of farms producing vegetables and fruits has tripled.
More than 1,400 farms with special facilities and agricultural techniques are currently operational in Qatar, the report said, adding that 530,000-sq-metre food security facility at Hamad Port storing rice, sugar and edible oils will further strengthen the country’s efforts to achieve food security.
The report said that more than 3,500 high-tech greenhouses are planned over 110 hectares to increase agriculture production in the county. Plant factories are also planned to ensure the production of leafy vegetables year-round, it said.
Qatar’s food security plan is underpinned by four pillars that helped it to mitigate the challenges of the pandemic in relation to the supply chains relatively well, the report said.
“Two pillars are focused on boosting the capacity of local farmers and manufacturers to produce quality consumable items and move them to market. One is focused on diversifying trade partnerships to hedge against over-reliance on individual source markets and the other one is focused on boosting national strategic reserves of essential items in order to prevent shortages during times of crisis,” OBG said in the report.