Achieving self-sufficiency

 01 Dec 2017 - 15:03

The Peninsula

Qatar is inching towards self-sufficiency in various sectors, especially in food and related industries. This march in key sectors has gained speed after the unjust blockade by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt began on June 5.

This was stressed by the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani when he addressed the opening of the 46th ordinary session of the Advisory Council.

“Work is underway to implement economic development projects that would help in fortifying our economy, these include establishing areas for storage, developing logistics areas and introducing a number of food security projects,” the Emir said in his speech.

Efforts were already in place to achieve food security even before the siege started. But this gained traction after the act of cowardice by our neighbours, something no one could fathom and the reason for the action is still unknown.

This put the state machinery into action and the first task was to find new markets and then achieve self-sufficiency as soon as possible. The government and various state agencies along with private sector put in their maximum efforts and the results are there to see on the ground.

Hamad Port, which was ready before the illegal siege, was put into action and within weeks there were ships routes serving major ports in Oman, Kuwait, Turkey, China, Indian, Pakistan and other countries.

In addition, the vast network of Qatar Airways have helped flying in various food products from all over the world.

There was confusion in the immediate aftermath of the blockade as a major portion of Qatar’s milk products were coming through the Saudi border. This was resolved in a few days as dairy products from Turkey and Iran started filling the shelves of groceries and supermarkets soon.

Now the supermarket shelves looks truly multi-cultural with milk from Qatar, Turkey, Iran; laban from Azerbaijan, India, Kuwait; juices from India, Lebanon, Oman; vegetables from France, Mongolia, Netherlands, to name a few.

Not resting on the quick response in securing new markets, Qatar has stepped on the gas pedal to reach self-sufficiency in milk production by next year. Baladna Livestock Production has flown in cows from around the world and currently has around 3,400 cows. They are aiming to have 14,000 Holstein cows by February, which will be able to produce nearly 400 tonnes of milk per day. This will take care of the daily dairy needs of Qatar.

Plans to start a massive poultry farm, which can produce 70,000 tonnes of broiler meat and 250 million eggs, is at an advance stage. Post-siege Qatar has reached 75 percent self-sufficiency in poultry sector.

There is also major push in agriculture sector by building hundreds of green houses to boost vegetable farming by many folds.These efforts by various ministries and private sector firms are surely the way to ensure food security in the country.