Baladna plans 40 new farms, two water treatment facilities

The Peninsula

Doha: Experts and officials taking part in Qatar’s Sixth International Agricultural Exhibition (AgriteQ 2018) underlined that the State of Qatar has succeeded in taking the appropriate steps and measures to ensure its food security and achieve high rates of self-sufficiency under the current circumstances and challenges.

CEO of Baladna Peter Weltevreden said that Qatar was importing between 80 and 85% of its dairy needs from neighbouring countries before the siege, but the company was able to strengthen its production capacity and buy many cows to cover the needs of the local market in less than a year, QNA has reported.

He added that the company is expanding and increasing its farms, and is currently working on the construction of more than 40 new farms with full facilities, as well as the construction of two water treatment facilities and plants for feed storage for six months after buying from abroad.

Speaking to QNA, Advisor of Agriculture Policy and Investment in the Sultanate of Oman Naufal Rasheed described the measures taken by the State of Qatar to ensure its food security as safe, sound and wise, noting that all main facilities in the State played an active role in serving the country’s food security now and in the future.

Rasheed said that Qatar should focus on the production of fish, dates, vegetables and various agricultural and livestock products, including milk, poultry, red meat and eggs.

He added that Qatar should also focus on projects for production inputs, especially for fodder grown abroad, in order to achieve an integration of internal and external investments.

For his part, Representative of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Dr. Mohammed Abdul Wahab Ahmed, said that the State of Qatar, according to “The Economist Intelligence Unit” classification ranked in the 29th position and the third in the Arab world in the latest classification.

In statements to QNA, Dr. Mohammed said that Qatar has succeeded to set up a comprehensive strategy for food security and agricultural expansion under the current circumstances.

According to the information available to the FAO, all the measures taken by Qatar to secure food were very excellent and succeeded in achieving high rates of self-sufficiency in vegetables and fruits and increasing dairy productivity, along with Qatar’s foreign partnerships in the food security sectors.

In a symposium held on the sidelines of the Sixth International Agricultural Exhibition to discuss the issue of food security from the point of view of experts from the State of Qatar, the participants reviewed Qatar’s efforts to achieve food sufficiency and the measures taken by the State in this regard. Executive Director of Hamad Port Project Eng. Jassim Mohammed Al Shirawi said that the State has worked to secure its basic food and other needs, and has made many achievements during the last period despite to the unjust siege, praising the role of Qatar Investment Authority in promoting the agricultural and industrial investments to achieve the public interest.

Speaking about the Port’s storage facilities, Al Shirawi said that the facilities are designed to store 386,000 tonnes of rice, 191,000 tonnes of sugar and the equivalent of 120,000 tonnes of oils for two years.

For his part, H E Assistant Undersecretary for Agriculture and Fisheries Affairs at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment Sheikh Dr. Faleh bin Nasser Al Thani underlined that the Ministry has plans to meet the need of the market of all food products that are produced locally quickly and economically, affirming that Qatar has achieved high rates of self-sufficiency of basic foodstuffs, especially the local fresh products.

Meanwhile, Director of Livestock Department at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, Farhoud Al Hajri, highlighted the great attention that the Ministry attaches to the agricultural sector being responsible for the achievement of food security in the country.

He explained the main axes of the livestock development strategy which include achieving the optimal utilization of the manors and farms, increasing the income of livestock breeders, interacting with projects and companies operating in the livestock and poultry production sector, and developing animal extension system as well as treatment and immunization systems in the country.

He noted that the Ministry has launched a new program aimed at creating strategic stocks of sheep and goats at Qatari farms, adding that the country aims at achieving 65% self-sufficiency in red meats within 24 months.

A number of speakers at the symposium underlined that Qatar has taken clear and successful strategies to enhance its food security and made enough plans to meet the needs of the local market.

This article was originally published on the following website: https://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/22/03/2018/Baladna-plans-40-new-farms,-two-water-treatment-facilities

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