Posted on August 27, 2017

A packing and peeling facility at Al Khor, is expected to reduce a significant quantity of vegetable and fruit waste in many hypermarkets across Qatar, once operational.

The facility is being set up by Agrico, a private local Qatari agricultural development company established in 2011 with the aim of helping Qatar achieve food security. “About 30% of vegetable and fruit waste in hypermarkets can be reduced since peeling will be done in our facility. It will also save them time and energy,” Agrico managing director Nasser Ahmed al-Khalaf told Gulf Times.

Agrico, which operates a 120,000sq m organic farm at Al Khor, supplies more than 150 hypermarkets and small groceries across the country with various kinds of vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumber, and mushrooms, among others. The Qatari farm owner explained he will also convert the vegetable and fruit waste into organic compost for growing fruits such as papaya and lemons, as well as other vegetables (carrots and zucchini) and different kinds of herbs such as basil, coriander, and mint.If successful, Agrico will increase its fruit production and other varieties of vegetables to meet the growing demand in the country.

Such strategy, which al-Khalaf described as a sustainable practice, will also help in lessening the quantity of waste brought to the waste management facility for treatment.  The 800sq m packing and peeling facility will have a capacity of 100-tonnes per day but al-Khalaf plans to build a bigger one next year. It will be used primarily for trading and exporting. “Once built, it will serve our vision of increasing the local production and help in attaining food security,” he said. He also expressed confidence that the country will soon export its own “high quality organic fresh food products” using a Qatari technology developed by Agrico.

The company is working hard to save and recycle almost everything, including water and the substrate it uses for hydroponics farming, thereby saving money, energy and resources. “We do not waste any drop of water and we developed this system only to collect the extra water from the substrate,” al-Khalaf explained. Apart from building 10 more greenhouses this year (in addition to the existing 20), Agrico will also come up with a pyramid-like greenhouse to grow other vegetables, fruits and herbs. With about 1,400 farms in total across the country, al-Khalaf hopes that many of them will produce and put their products in the Qatar market.

“The government is encouraging these farms to produce more,” he said, citing that the Qatar Development Bank is supporting the country’s agriculture sector.

source: Gulf Times