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QF’s QBG organises food security webinar with University of Arizona

QF’s QBG organises food security
webinar with University of Arizona

Tribune News Network
Qatar Foundation’s Qur’anic Botanic Garden (QBG) hosted an online discussion with the University of Arizona that focused on innovative strategies for fostering food security in Qatar and the US Southwest.
The interactive discussion outlined food security related topics, including low-water sustainable agricultural practices, controlled-environment engineering in hot and arid lands, vertical farming innovations, use of renewable energy, as well as the incorporation of traditional local heirloom crops and edible native plants to achieve greater resilience in desert food systems. The webinar attracted participants from 25 countries across the MENA region, Europe, Asia and North America.
As both regions share common environmental challenges, such as the effects of climate change and growing pressure on resources, particularly on fresh water, Qatar and the US stand to benefit from collaborative working efforts on food security through the joint development and adoption of emerging cutting-edge innovations.
Titled ‘Fostering Food Security in the Drylands: Innovative Strategies for Qatar and the U.S. Southwest in the Face of Climate Change and Growing Resource Limitations’, the webinar by the QBG – the first garden in the world to exhibit all plant species mentioned in the Holy Qur’an, Hadith and Sunnah – brought together QBG specialists, as well as experts from the University of Arizona and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, and representatives from the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, Qatar University, Agrico, and the Qatar Fertilizer Company.
The webinar was held as part of the Qatar-USA 2021 Year of Culture and the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with the University of Arizona earlier in July this year.
Fatima Al-Khulaifi, director of QBG, said: “As part of our contributions to the Qatar-US 2021 Year of Culture and in support of both the UN’s Global Strategy for Plant Conservation and Qatar National Vision 2030, we are delighted to have brought together some of Qatar and America’s most distinguished environmental experts to discuss the food security needs of Qatar and the American Southwest, as well as opportunities to collaboratively address them.
“In addition, we will host a webinar with the Missouri Botanical Garden soon, with which we signed an MoU, on desert restoration and food security, featuring the participation of the Botanic Gardens Conservation International and other botanical gardens from around the world. QBG looks forward to working with the University of Arizona and the other US counterparts that we collaborate with to reinforce the already strong bonds between our two nations.”
Professor Joel Cuello, professor of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering and director of Global Initiatives for Strategic Agriculture in Drylands, University of Arizona, and vice chair of the International Association for Vertical Farming, said: “The University of Arizona is pleased to partner with QBG in celebrating the Qatar-US 2021 Year of Culture. The cultural realm transcends the arts and extends to, among myriad things, people’s traditional food ways, their current food systems and how the inextricable link between food security and environmental sustainability is fostered and shepherded by each culture.
“With Qatar and the US Southwest having similar arid/semi-arid environments, our food heritage and challenges also share remarkable parallels, opening doors for our mutual cooperation on the design of resilient and sustainable innovative solutions. Going forward, I look forward to working together with my colleagues at QBG for our planned R&D cooperation on Vertical Farming and other pertinent innovations.”
QBG has launched several agricultural and educational campaigns, initiatives and programmes to encourage community members to start home gardens and preserve plant and natural resources. Initiatives also include the Ghars campaign, aimed at planting 2022 trees as part of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 preparations. The campaign has already succeeded in planting nearly 2,000 trees to date.
Additionally, in a bid to support the Environmental Development pillar of QNV 2030, protect ecosystems, and empower community members to be active contributors to these efforts, QBG recently launched its free-of-charge ‘Home Garden Phone Helpline’. The initiative enables the public to pose any home gardening questions directly to QBG experts by calling +974 3091 8519 every Monday from 9:00am – 12:30pm, and every Wednesday from 12:30pm – 2:30pm.