Food from backyard

 31 Jan 2018 - 9:10

The Peninsula

All the projects and initiatives launched by Qatar’s various government or private sector organisations to achieve food self-sufficiency goals entered new aggressive phase after imposition of illegal blockade in June last year.

This new phase knows only one target; the target to achieve self-sufficiency by beating all odds and relaying on advanced innovative ways. All the efforts made in last seven months in that direction are also bearing fruits.     

The Qatar Development Bank (QDB) has announced launching a major initiative towards achieving self-sufficiency in food production, especially vegetables and fruits. 

Under this unique initiative, QDB is planning to start a comprehensive programme for citizens. The bank will provide all necessary support and training on “home-farming” to citizens to produce vegetables and fruits within the backyards of their houses and villas by using hydroponics technology. Hydroponics system is a new soil-less method of growing plants. 

“For achieving self-sufficiency in terms of food production, we now have a new programme to promote ‘home-farming’, which is going to be a major initiative towards self-sufficiency. This is in addition to our focus to support local farmers to boost their output,” Khalid Abdulla Al Mana, Executive Director for Business Finance at QDB, has said. 

Al Mana has said that QDB is providing full supports to SMEs, local farmers and entrepreneurs. “Healthcare and medicine is another area of our focus. We also help local businesses and entrepreneurs to establish clinics and pharmaceutical manufacturing units in Qatar. We have many such projects in the healthcare sector in our portfolio.”

Meanwhile, non-productive farms covering a total area of 600,000sqm are expected to start producing vegetables from next agricultural season under an initiative “IKTAFA” launched recently by Hassad Food to increase the local production.

From the beginning of the blockade, Arab Qatari Agricultural Production Company ‘QTFA’ of Hassad started acquiring more spaces of free land for cultivating vegetables. Since then the company has added 40,000 sqm with the help of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment to its existing agricultural farms and readied them to cultivate.

With adequate support of Qatar Development Bank (QDB), the local farmers have already increased vegetable production capacity of their farms significantly and are expecting to harvest double the quantity in the upcoming season. 

Efforts towards achieving self-sufficiency in food have met tremendous successes and the journey continues with unflinching commitment and dedication. Resultantly, local milk production is now meeting 72 percent of total consumption of Qatar from merely 17 percent before blockade. In next few months, Qatar is set to achieve 100 percent self-sufficiency in milk production. 

In the same manner, local production of fresh chicken has also increased manifold and it is expected that Qatar will achieve more than 100 percent self-sufficiency in the production of fresh chicken during first quarter (Q1) of this year.