Posted on April 11, 2020

Food security is an issue that’s at the forefront of the State of Qatar’s priorities on the developmental level, due to the essential role it plays in economic independence of the state and. Food security is also important to realize the 2030 Qatar National Vision. people generation after generation.

The Committee charged with following up on the implementation of food security objectives in the public and private sectors focuses on issues such as local production, import plans, and diversification of imports sources. It is also concerned with building up a strategic reserve of products. The country’s strategy is focused on the expansion of local production of agricultural and food products that the state of Qatar has a comparative advantage in. Some of these products include fresh vegetables, dairy products, dates, red and white meat, eggs and fish.

The strategic reserve meanwhile is focused on products that are not produced in Qatar that can be stored for long periods such as wheat, sugar, rice, and cooking oil. The country’s national strategy for food security 2019- 2023 came with the aim of coordinating efforts between different authorities to get the optimal use out of the country’s natural and water resources, and to insulate the country’s food needs from shocks. The strategy proved its success in dealing with different crises and emergencies such as the unjust blockade and the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide, as local markets continued to see a sustained flow of goods of all kinds.

The country is ranked top among its Arab peers in the Global Food Security Index for the year 2019. It is also ranked 13th overall in the index. Minister of Commerce and Industry, H E Ali bin Ahmed Al Kuwari (pictured) said during the recent Extraordinary Meeting of Ministers of Commerce in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States that Qatar has worked, even before the outbreak of the pandemic, to take all measures to ensure the regular flow of food and medicines as well as all medical supplies through many of its trading partners around the world. H E the Minister of Commerce along with H E the Minister of Municipality and Environment signed on March 26 a number of deals that would increase the country’s strategic reserve of food products.

The initiative came in line with the food security strategy of the country, and in line with the efforts of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to enhance partnership between the public and private sectors in order to establish the leading state of Qatar as one of the most prominent countries in the region in those regards. Under these contracts, there will be an increase in the strategic reserve of products such as wheat, rice, cooking oils, sugar, frozen red meat, milk with long duration dates, and powdered milk.

Director of food security at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment Masoud Jarallah Al Marri told Qatar News Agency (QNA) that the most biggest achievements in the field were increasing local production, which helped the country take huge steps towards sufficiency in products such as agricultural products and fish. He discussed Qatar’s local production over the past three years and said that selfsufficiency in vegetables increased from 20 percent in 2017 to 27 percent in March this year, dates grew from 84 percent to 86 percent, dairy products reached self-sufficiency, as did poultry.

Red meat rose from 13 percent to 18, and eggs doubled from 14 percent to 28 percent as of last March. Production from fisheries in the country equates to 76 percent of the local market’s needs. In terms of bolstering the contribution of the private sector in food security, he said that ministry offered many strategic agricultural projects to the private sector, the most important of which were fish farming projects with floating cages at sea and vegetable production projects using Greenhouse technology, shrimp farming projects, organic fertilizer production projects, and camel milk production projects.

Meanwhile Assistant undersecretary for manufacturing affairs at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Mohammed Hassan Al Mali told QNA that the food products industry was the top priority of the last three years. He said that the industry has 80 factories, which represents nine percent of the total number of manufacturing factories in the country. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry stressed last year that they have placed many plans that will help the country deal with any fluctuations in the market related to any disruption to global supply chains or a decline in local and global production levels due to natural disasters or any other disruptions.

The State of Qatar has strengthened its cooperation with various international entities concerned with the development of the global trade systems for agricultural products. Examples of such organizations include the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the G20, and the World Trade Organization among others.