- Special Pages
By Nasser al Harthy
DOHA: Hassad Food, the food arm of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) plans to build a new food market at a cost of QR25m in Doha selling local products at affordable prices.
Works on the new market near the existing central fruit and vegetable market, in an area of 13,000sqm, is to start by the end of this year and will be completed in 12 months.
“The Hassad Food market will package and promote local agricultural products at fair prices for all people living in Qatar,” Nasser bin Mohamed Al Fheid Al Hajiri, Chairman and Managing Director of Hassad Food told a news conference here yesterday.
“Since food items are witnessing high prices and demand all year round, the new Hassad Food market will contribute to achieving national food security for Qatar, which is the long-term strategy of Hassad Food, and accomplish the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030 for the welfare of all residents in Qatar. “
The conference was attended by the Minister of Environment H E Abdulla bin Mubark bin Abud Almudadi and Mansour Ibrahim Al Mahmoud, CEO of Qatar Development Bank (QDB).
The new market will be built according to international standards which would facilitate the process of loading, unloading and selling the goods in addition to packaging and storing.
Facilities at the new Hassad Food market will include a big hall for receiving vegetables from the farmers and a factory to wash and clean the products and repackage them. The project also includes cold storages and auction hall.
The new market will also include a laboratory, in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment, to check residual effects of fertilisers and pesticides on the vegetables packed and sold there.
QDB will provide the farm owners listed in the programme with loans to be paid back in monthly installment over eight years, with a permit period of first six months. These Shariah compliant loans will allow farm owners to improve their projects and invest in the most modern agricultural machines and technology, Al Hajiri said.
“The project comes within our strategy to accomplish food security and provide various food products at competitive prices, especially given that investment in the agricultural sector is a strategic goal for Hassad Qatar. We must all move towards self sufficiency and produce the maximum amount of food we can,” he said.
He added that the new project will help in reducing pressures in the current central fruit and vegetable market.
Al Mahmoud, said that this national programme will allow Qatari farm owners to get a loan of QR1m per one farm to encourage them invest in agricultural production. He stressed the importance of this programme which underscores QDB’s commitment towards agriculture in Qatar. He said “QDB focuses on supporting local farm owners, and we believe that the key of developing the agricultural sector in Qatar is in offering easy financing”.
Besides, the Ministry of Environment will supervise the executing of this program at the private farms and will provide services to farm owners. It will also evaluate the program performance and determine the suitable solutions on the long term in order to raise the agricultural sector in Qatar and help in achieving its full capacity.
Almudadi said, “Our concern is currently focused on providing farmers with information and training workshops they need to help them adopt modern production methods which accomplish the ideal use of water and soil, and which support the national food security in the state of Qatar.” The Peninsula