Festival plan to promote organic vegetables

 23 Jan 2016 - 1:02

Festival plan to promote organic vegetables

DOHA: After successful conclusion of a festival of locally-produced honey, the Agricultural Affairs Department at the Ministry of Environment is planning to promote organic vegetables.

The ministry has plans to hold a festival of organic vegetables at the three farmers’ markets where the honey festival ended yesterday.
The honey festival aimed to encourage local honey producers. 
Some 50 honeybee farms are getting financial and technical support from the government through the ministry.
It all began in 2013 when the ministry decided to support 30 honeybee farms and honey production peaked at 6.1 tonnes. The following year, 50 farms were brought within the state support network while there are plans to add 50 more farms by September 2016.
The farmers’ markets are open only in the winter months and three days a week from Thursday through Saturday. The honey festival was held for two days a week — of those three days when the farmers’ markets are open — in Umm Salal, Al Wakrah and Al Khor/Al Dhakheera — one by one.
The first festival was held in Al Mazrooa, then Al Wakrah and yesterday, it ended in Al Khor-Al Dhakheera.
A total of 278kg of Qatari honey was sold here in two days.
Abdul Rahman Al Sulaiti, Supervisor of the farmers’ markets at the ministry, said plans are afoot to hold a festival of locally-grown organic vegetables. He said the honey festival was very successful and so the organic vegetables’ festival would also be a hit with consumers. Also on the cards is a festival of regular vegetables produced in local farms and greenhouses. On a pilot basis the ministry has converted one farm into an organic facility and plans to open five more such farms.
Organic vegetable production is growing at a rapid pace worldwide due to increasing demand in view of health benefits. In Qatar, organic vegetables produced by local farms are available in limited quantities so the idea is to increase its production.
Organic farming relies on traditional methods such as crop rotation, usage of green manures and compost. Biological pest control methods are also used. The government also provides technical help to honey and other farms. Technicians visit the facilities regularly and workers are provided with training.
Al Sulaiti said recently a fair of flowers was also held at the farmers’ markets.

The Peninsula