Posted on November 11, 2017

Qatar is implementing a research project in collaboration with the +International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in which peaceful atomic energy will be used to grow plants faster to ensure food security.

The project is entitled “Using Nuclear Techniques to Enrich Agricultural Research for Sustainable Food Security in Qatar”. “The importance of the project in which the Agricultural Research Department at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, in collaboration with IAEA, use atomic energy peacefully and safely in food security through the use of scientific techniques that could lead to a new method to grow plants faster”, said Hamad Saket Al Shamari, Assistant Director of the Department.

Al Shamari was talking to the media persons on the sideline of a press conference was held to announce a workshop to train the employees for the implementation of the project. He said, the duration of the project is three years, expressing hope to keep the agreement going, especially since the preliminary results of the project were tangible and clear and have positive impact on the environment as well as wild and edible plants in Qatar.

Al Shamari said the department is seeking cooperation in this context with other international organisations such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in addition to effective cooperation with a number of regional organisations.
Aisha Dasmal Al Kuwari, head of genetic resources division at ministry’s agricultural research department, said the ministry adopts several projects, agricultural and environment programmes to protect the Qatari environment and develop and sustain its genetic resources, which are considered a wealth for future generations.

Al Kuwari said one of the programs and projects the genetic resources department is establishing in cooperation with the IAEA is to enrich genetic diversity and conserve plant genetic resources in Qatar using nuclear and other related technologies. Al Kuwari revealed the main goals of the project is preserving the plant genetic resources in the country, inspect some plant species resistant or tolerant to salinity and breed wild plants to produce plants with desirable agricultural or desirable forage. She added that there are more than 620 plant inputs in the genetic resources unit for more than 3,500 samples, as well as a seed bank with more than 450 plant inputs from wild plants in the country, and seeds for many endangered plants and other important plants in Qatar.

Dr Abdelbaqi Mukhtar Ali Ghanim, IAEA expert and project official of Qatar on the uses of atomic energy to improve genetic diversity in cultivated and wild plants, said goal of the project is to build capabilities of the Qatari experts and train them to use atomic energy peacefully to develop some types of wild crops and trees. Al Ghanim said that, through this project, the agency aims to develop laboratories in the country and support it with equipment and required chemical materials.

source: The Peninsula