Doha: Local vegetable production in the State of Qatar has seen a qualitative leap in recent years, reaching a 100% increase in the last three years compared to what preceded it, director of the Department of agricultural affairs at the Ministry of Municipality, said Youssef Al Khulaifi.
In an exclusive statement to Qatar News Agency (QNA), Youssef Al Khulaifi said local vegetable production in 2021 amounting to around 102,000 tons, compared to 55,000 tons in 2017, the self-sufficiency rate local vegetables increased from around 20% in 2017 to around 46% in 2022, i.e. a rate of increase of around 130%, knowing that the target percentage was 70%.
Al Khulaifi revealed that Qatari farms use modern (protected) agricultural systems, and the ministry has distributed 2,436 ordinary greenhouses, in addition to distributing 1,712 refrigerated houses, 100 houses dedicated to modern hydroponics and 100 drying rooms for dates to improve their quality.
The agricultural sector has a particular importance in Qatar’s policies and orientations, given its social and economic dimensions, and it has received more attention, so that its contribution to the national product has become significant.
The Global Food Security Index can be adopted as a basis for measuring and proving that the country is moving in the right direction, with Qatar ranking first in the Arab world in this area and ranked 22nd globally.
The agricultural strategy in Qatar is based on widening the circle of vegetable and animal agricultural products, such as vegetables, dates, red meat, poultry, eggs, fish, dairy products and green fodder, by taking into account the preservation of the country’s natural resources and the work to make good use of them, which has made it possible to double the local production of vegetables, meat and fish. poultry, table eggs and animal feed, up more than 400% in one year,
The State has also attached particular importance to food control in terms of health and quality, in order to ensure the raising of the level of quality and safety of food products.
The percentage of self-sufficiency in red meat has reached 18% and the target is 30%, while fresh poultry has reached 100%, thus reaching the target percentage and the same in milk and its derivatives, while the rate of self-sufficiency in table eggs increased from about 14% in 2017 to about 36% in 2022, an increase of more than 157%, and it is expected that the end of this year will see the rate of self-sufficiency of this product recommended by the National Food Security Strategy, which must cover domestic demand at 70%.
The ministry has also entered into a contract with the Mahaseel company, which is affiliated with the Hassad company, to provide agricultural services to farmers with the aim of improving the quality and timeliness of the provision of such services, including plowing and other agricultural operations, as well as the provision of various agricultural production inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and other similar needs.
Director of Food Security at the Ministry of Municipality, Masoud Al Marri, told QNA that Qatar’s national food security strategy is based on a systematic plan to achieve secure self-sufficiency rates in food products, while preserving natural resources and providing ample space for the private sector to contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the strategy, emphasizing that work will continue over the coming period to implement these plans with a view to achieving the self-sufficiency rates set by this strategy.
Al Marri pointed out that the strategy focuses on increasing the local production of agricultural raw materials, of which the State of Qatar has a comparative advantage in production, and recommends building up a strategic stock of raw materials that can be stored for long periods of time, which is part of preserving the country’s limited natural resources, especially the groundwater and land elements.
In this regard, Al Marri told QNA that the Ministry of Trade and Industry is currently working to increase the strategic wheat stock to 10 months from 4 months now to meet the upcoming requirements of the state of the country. Qatar during FIFA. Qatar World Cup 2022. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is also working to increase the strategic stock of the rest of the targeted food products in line with the recommendations of the Qatar National Food Security Strategy, adding that Qatar now has stocks of rice and edible oils. up to 4 months, with a 6-month target, long-term sugar and milk for two months, with a 6-month target, and frozen red meat and poultry for two months.
The percentage of self-sufficiency in dairy products and derivatives increased from approximately 28% in 2017 to 100% in 2022, which means that the rate of sufficiency has quadrupled in the last five years and reached total self-sufficiency in dairy products and derivatives. Similarly, the State of Qatar was able to achieve complete self-sufficiency in fresh broilers, having grown from around 50% in 2017 to 100% in 2022.
When it comes to red meat, the country’s self-sufficiency rate has risen from 13% in 2017 to around 18% today, with an increase of around 38%, as Qatar’s national food security strategy aims to achieve a self-sufficiency rate estimated at 30% in 2023. Within this framework, the Ministry has proposed (8) strategic local sheep and goat breeding and fattening projects to private sector companies, with the aim of achieving the self-sufficiency rate targeted in Qatar’s National Food Security Strategy.
Regarding the fisheries sector in the State of Qatar, and given the importance of preserving the fish stock in the country and not depleting it through overfishing, Dr. Masoud Al Marri stressed that the Ministry of Municipality has focused more on fish farming projects as a suitable way to increase fish production without depleting the stock.
The ministry also inaugurated the Aquatic Fisheries Research Center in Ras Matbakh, which is considered one of the major productive research centers that support fish farming in the country and provide the necessary environment for setting up projects. of fish farming.
He added that there is a strategic project in the country for fish farming which is being implemented by a private sector company, and another project for shrimp farming, and that both projects are expected to help achieve the rates self-sufficiency targeted in the Qatar National Food Security Strategy, which currently stands at 72 percent, with the total herd reaching 1,507,543 head, including 108,749 camels, 42,139 cows, 418,525 goats and 938,130 sheep , while the number of working fish farms reached five and estimated 211 beekeeping farms comprising about 7,313 hives.