Qatar is a small peninsula covering an area of approximately 11,000 km² off the eastern cost of Saudi Arabia.  It has like all countries in the region of the Gulf, the world’s highest daily insolation or sun exposure and irradiation.  The country has also few natural underground water resources that are all supplemented by numerous desalination plants.  With or despite that, the Government to help struggling farmers in Qatar has to face not only these natural challenges with respect to water scarcity mainly due to unreliable surface and fresh water sources but geopolitical ones as well.  These are of having to recently experience it neighbors’ blockade of almost a month and a half on all of its in-trade by air, sea and land.  It therefore is now seriously envisaging the development of using its lands as reported on by Shabina Khatri of Doha News.

Government to help struggling farmers in Qatar boost production

Shabina Khatri , Executive editor, co-founder of @dohanews.

July 19, 201

Credit Muhammed Salih/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Credit: Muhammed Salih/Flickr

More than 80 percent of Qatar’s farms are considered “unproductive,” but a government-owned company is hoping to change that through a new initiative.

This week, Hassad Food announced the launch of Iktefa’ (sufficiency), a new plan to subsidize Qatari farms to help them bring “high quality products to the local market.”

Farmer’s Market Credit Penny Yi Wang Flickr

Hassad said that under the initiative, it will:

  • Purchase the annual yield of local farms and resell them to the Qatar market;
  • Provide technical supervisionand logistical support to farms; and
  • Develop feasibility studiesfor farms seeking financial support to build greenhouses.

Local farms are being invited to work with Hassad as it seeks to buy up to 5,000 tons of fresh produce a year initially.

In a statement, Hassad’s CEO Mohamed AlSadah said “We hope that through this important initiative, (we) will build bridges of cooperation with local farmers.”

Food security

Food security has been a growing concern for import-dependent Qatar.

The issue has taken on renewed importance this summer since the Gulf dispute began and the country lost some of its key food imports.

Zulal Oasis. Credit: Hassad Food

Hassad Food has long been working to shore up Qatar’s food supply. It has also been involved in getting the country food during this recent crisis.

It was established in 2008 and is a subsidiary of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority.

In addition to investing in local agriculture, Hassad has food-related projects in Australia, Pakistan and Oman.

According to its website, it is also eying future investments in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.