Posted on June 06, 2019

“There is no dependence that can be sure but a dependence upon one’s self” and Qatar was rather quick enough to realise this from the unjust economic blockade, which is completing two years, when it embarked on a multipronged strategy in its farm sector as part of self-sufficiency.

The embargo, by Saudi-led quartet, has led its sovereign wealth fund arm Hassad Food sprang into action through its series of measures with each step targeting the strengthening of each segment in the entire supply chain. The Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) had entered into agreements with a number of national companies to implement projects in the field of agriculture, fisheries and livestock for owners of Qatari farms. The ministry aims to reach 70% of self-sufficiency of vegetables by 2023.

Interestingly, Qatar witnessed its newly developed Al Waha hydroponics farm celebrated the first harvest of cucumbers. The project of 80,000sq m of soil-less cultivation in greenhouses was developed and built by Agrico, one of the leading farms and greenhouse developers in Qatar. Hassad Food has established a local marketing and agricultural services entity Mahaseel to extend support to the private agricultural sector and thus contribute to the nation’s self-sufficiency.

More than 110 local productive farms have registered via Mahaseel’s website to benefit from the company’s marketing and agricultural services. To top it up, Hassad also extended financial and technical support to the newly established Anaam or Qatar Livestock Society as part of efforts to bridge the gap between the local production and demand. Founded in 2018 by a ministerial decision, Anaam is a cultural association, under the Associations and Private Institutions Department at the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs. It is dedicated to support the livestock owners and the wider livestock sector in Qatar.

Given that the country has more than a million livestock and 17,000 farmers, Anaam, which will be the interface between the farmers and the government, seeks to study the market needs and assess the challenges as well as find effective solutions in co-ordination with the entities and institutions and conduct workshops, and provide consultation to the livestock owners, in order to raise the production efficiency across the livestock sector. “Supporting the country in achieving food security is always at the forefront of Hassad’s strategic objectives ... We are keen to support the productive livestock owners, and we believe in the important role the association will play locally,” said Mohamed bin Badr al-Sadah, chief executive, Hassad Food.

Qatar’s premier investor in food sector also launched the first solar powered irrigation technology in the local fodder sector, aiming to produce around 20,000 tonnes of fodder annually. This comes as part of its new expansion phase for its fodder sector with five new pivots to be cultivated as part of this phase. The fodder is expected to be produced over a land area of 10mn sq m.