(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Boosting self-sufficiency of food products in Qatar, Your Health First, the flagship public health campaign of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) with several public and private partners, held its first ‘Harvest Day' event yesterday.
Organised at Amina Bint Wahab Preparatory School for Girls, the event celebrated a large crop of fresh tomatoes grown under the Khayr Qatarna initiative, which boosts self-sufficiency and encourages healthy eating.
Harvests at nine other schools participating in Khayr Qatarna yielded plentiful crops of fruit and vegetables including strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, coloured peppers, red cabbage and green beans. All the crops have been granted the status of ‘Premium Products' an indication of their freshness and quality by the Ministry of Municipality and
The event was attended by several dignitaries from Qatar Foundation (QF), the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, ExxonMobil Qatar, and Occidental Petroleum of Qatar.
All the produce has been grown in large-scale climate-controlled greenhouses installed at the schools by Your Health First as part of the Khayr Qatarna initiative, launched in 2018 to help make a positive contribution to Qatar's self-sufficiency.
'We have installed such large greenhouses in ten schools now. We will expand the facility to more schools in the coming years. In addition, we have installed smaller greenhouses installed at more than 130 elementary schools all over Qatar, Dr Javaid Sheikh, dean of WCM-Q, told Gulf Times.
The initiative also teaches students valuable lessons about healthy eating, agriculture, environmental awareness, and sustainability issues. Students also learn about key business operations, such as logistics, commerce and economics. Harvest Day will now be held each year.
Your Health First initially installed large-scale greenhouses at three secondary schools as part of Khayr Qatarna's pilot programme. The fruit and vegetables grown in the greenhouses are distributed with Khayr Qatarna branding to the community through local supermarkets and also among the school students' families and their communities. All proceeds from sales are reinvested in the project to allow for further expansion.
Fawzia Abdulaziz al-Khater, assistant undersecretary for Educational Affairs at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, stressed that the initiative of Sahtak Awalan Your Health First embodies the effective partnership between the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and state
Al-Khater added that the Ministry's support for this initiative stems from its keen interest in all that enhances the environmental and health awareness of students, and its commitment to build self-confidence.
Dr Faleh bin Nasser al-Thani, assistant undersecretary for Agriculture Affairs & Fisheries Resources said, 'We are pleased to participate in the first Harvest Day of Khayr Qatarna in Qatari schools, which is a confirmation of the seriousness of the work of this project and its importance.
He added that the project in Qatari schools will contribute to the supply of fresh agricultural produce grown by students and will raise students' awareness of the concepts and importance of agricultural production.
Buthaina Ali al-Nuaimi, president, Pre-University Education, QF, said, 'It is wonderful to see how much the Khayr Qatarna initiative has grown since it was launched last year. Food security is a key priority for Qatar, and we at Qatar Foundation are delighted to support this programme along with other key local entities and its aim of educating young people about the importance of self-sufficiency and healthy eating. Ultimately, this is a collective investment in asustainable future for Qatar.