The State of Qatar ensured food security successfully, thanks to the National Strategy for Food Security which helped in brushing aside the impact of the three-year-long blockade on the country.
The food strategy of Qatar is based on four points which include local production, strategic reserve, international trade and supply in the local market.
The strategy helped Qatar to achieve self-sufficiency in the production of a number of fresh food items by boosting the local food production with the help of advanced technologies like vegetables, dairy, meat and fish.
A number of new projects in cooperation with private companies were also launched to increase the self-sufficiency rate of Qatar in fresh food production to meet the existing and future demands. As a result, the production of local vegetables has reached 28 per cent of the total need of the country and it is planned to achieve self-sufficiency of up to 70 per cent in vegetable production in coming years.
Qatar achieved a high level of self-sufficiency in a number of fresh local products including milk (117 per cent) and chicken (125 per cent). A number of projects were launched to increase the production of a number of fresh products including table eggs and vegetables.
The projects were also launched for fish farming on floating cages which will help to increase self-sufficiency rate of Qatar from 85 per cent currently to 93 per cent in coming years.
By the end of 2023, the local fresh food production will witness remarkable growth as projects which were launched at the start of the strategy are about to start producing soon.
Qatar had had a strategy for food security before the crisis of the siege of Qatar, but it targeted different rate of self-sufficiency, and after the siege, it was necessary to develop a new strategy, which was developed setting new goals.
Qatar after the crisis worked to diversify the sources of import, and this was achieved in record periods; as a result of the country’s good economic position, in addition to investment arms such as Hassad Food Company and Qatar Airways.
Qatar, represented by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME), has exceeded the target in achieving self-sufficiency in various fresh food products, including vegetables, meat and fish in 2019. The achievement of the target of 2019 set under the National Strategy for Food Security 2019-23 is a big step by the country towards the realisation of food self-sufficiency goals.
The Agriculture and Fisheries Affairs Sector launched many projects in 2018 which helped increasing agricultural produce significantly raising the self-sufficiency in a number of products. In 2019, the Ministry launched 10 projects for producing vegetables in greenhouses with a total capacity of 21,000 tonnes of vegetables a year.
Two projects were also launched for producing camel milk with a capacity of 3,000 tonnes in a year. Four projects for table eggs were launched with the financing of the Qatar Development Bank having a capacity of producing 180 million eggs in a year.
Two projects for fish farming in floating cages with a capacity of 4,000 tonnes a year and a project for farming about 1,000 tonnes year of prawns were also launched last year.
Qatar’s vegetable production jumped to 74,000 tonnes in 2019 from 55,000 tonnes in 2017, recording a 27 per cent self-sufficiency.
The production of local dates has also increased 29,500 tonnes in 2019 from 28,000 tonnes in 2017, achieving 84 per cent self-sufficiency. The milk production in Qatar increased from 60,000 tonnes in 2017 to 230,000 tonnes in 2019, recording over 106 per cent self-sufficiency. Fresh chicken production grew from 11,000 tonnes in 2017 to 28,000 tonnes in 2019, covering over 124 per cent of the total demand of the country for fresh chicken. The production of table eggs increased 4,000 tonnes in 2017 to 9,000 tonnes in 2019, achieving over 28 per cent self-sufficiency.
Qatar’s red meat production rose 8,000 tonnes in 2017 to 10,000 tonnes in 2019. Fish production reached about 15,000 tonnes in a year, representing about 74 per cent self-sufficiency in fresh fish.
The State of Qatar maintained the first rank in the Arab world and jumped to the 13th position globally after it was ranked 22 in 2018, according to the World Food Security Index. This remarkable jump from 22nd to 13th globally was in just one year, after the adoption of the National Food Security Strategy, which was adopted in 2018. The index is based on three sub-indicators including consumer’s ability to afford food, food availability, and food safety and quality. It was an indication that this national plan had contributed significantly to achieving food self-sufficiency, with the aim of improving the level of food security in the country. The MME supported farmers in installing many greenhouses some of which had begun the production.
The Ministry aimed to set up 3,500 greenhouses on an area of 110 hectares with the production capacity of 10,000 tonnes and contributing an increase of 15 per cent vegetable production.
The Animal Resources Department is working on implementing a strategy that will last for 5 years, with the aim of preventing transitional and epidemic diseases affecting livestock.
The department also seeks during the coming period to develop the halal numbering system, to contribute significantly and serve as an early warning for any epidemic disease that may affect animals and controlling it before it occurs, as well as contributing to the development of the system of veterinary laboratories in a way that helps in taking decisions in this regard to preserve animal wealth.
The Fish Affairs Department has a national strategy 2018-22 aimed at reaching self-sufficiency in fresh fish and maintaining fish stocks, and the establishment of a number of fish and shrimp farms. The department developed a strategic plan emanating from the National Food Security Plan for the Agriculture and Fisheries Affairs Sector, to create harmony and flexibility in work and achieve the targeted goals.
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