Posted on October 08, 2017

Between 60% and 70% of local farms in Qatar are gearing towards organic production, a move that will make farming in the country unique, pioneering Qatari organic farmer Nasser Ahmed al-Khalaf has said.

“Most of the local farms are looking for quality more than the quantity,” the managing director of Agrico told Gulf Times. While many of these farms are small, he noted that an increasing number are opting for organic method to produce vegetables and fruits. According to al-Khalaf, the ongoing economic blockade imposed by the Saudi-led bloc on Qatar prompted farm owners to expand their cultivation areas to meet the growing demand for fresh produce.
“At Agrico we are planting all year long, we are ready all the time. For the local farms, they are ready for the new season,” he said, expressing confidence that local production in Qatar from October to April will further increase compared to the same period in previous years.

Agrico finished setting up seasonal greenhouses in a 120,000sq m (12 hectare) area to increase its production this winter, apart from its current 120,000sq m area used for organic hydroponic farming in Al Khor. The private local Qatari agricultural development company was established in 2011 with the aim of helping Qatar achieve food security. Due to the huge demand for agricultural products in the country in the wake of the blockade, al-Khalaf pointed out that they built “something simple and easy to install” greenhouses this season to produce more. “Later on we will slowly convert these lands into year-long production areas, but this will be gradual,” he added. He noted that most of the farms in Qatar are now preparing for the new season as the temperature and humidity have begun to drop.

Al-Khalaf, who spoke to a couple of farm owners recently, said his colleagues are also expanding their operations like Agrico. He cited the support given by higher authorities, government agencies and the people in Qatar in achieving their objectives and goals, particularly in food security. The farm owner also expects the commercial farms in the country to increase from 25 to at least 50 this season. With the use of a modern technology developed in Qatar, he expressed confidence that they will witness a substantial increase in agricultural production in the near future. “The technology that we have here today in Qatar is not available anywhere else in the world. We have a technology that can produce all year long under a very severe environment like in Qatar,” he stressed.

source: Gulf Times