(MENAFN- Gulf Times)
Qatar's efforts on food security have granted unprecedented stability to the food and agricultural sector in the country, according to a researcher from Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute, (Qeeri), part of Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU).
“Local food production has boomed over the past four years, and farming activities have increased across Qatar. Several market and governmental incentives were put in place to facilitate producers and consumers in supporting local products,' Dr Annamaria Mazzoni, a research associate at Qeeri said in an article.
Dr Mazzoni says that Qatar's efforts at food security proved to be resilient during the Covid-19 epidemic. She noted:“Qatar's quest for food security and sustainability has received much attention over the years and all the sectors in the country have shown the ability to prioritise it and align actions for its realisation.”
Writing in HBKU newsletter Wamdha, the researcher said that the Qatar National Food Security Strategies (2018-2023), is currently undergoing updates, focus on enhancing local food production, the diversification of import sources, building up a strategic reserve to balance food stocks, making optimal use of the country's natural and water resources, and the employment of renewable energies in the agricultural sector.
“These efforts have granted unprecedented stability to the food and agricultural sector, which has proven resilient during the Covid-19 epidemic. Thanks to the policy focus, cross-sectoral strategies, and long-term planning, Qatar was indeed able to sustain the sudden disruption of global food supply chains caused by the pandemic and as of 2021, Qatar ranks 24th globally and second at regional level accordingly to the Global Food Security Index by the Economist Intelligence Unit,” she explained.
Dr Mazzoni is optimistic that Qatar shall continue to strive to attain a sustainable food system through several ways.
She suggested:“Climate change is one of the global challenges and the expansion of the use of renewable energies should also apply to the food sector. Similarly, diversification of water sources and groundwater conservation is crucial for sustainable natural resources management. Food waste reduction is a key aspect for further development of the food sector and goes hand in hand with food safety practices.”
“Monitoring plays a critical role in quality assurance and observance of standards for the import, production, processing, preparation, and disposal of food products, since a big part of the food is still imported. Lastly, further research and efforts in improving healthy diets and food habits should be materialised in related policies,” she continued.
Dr Mazzoni also highlighted the need for further research on food security and the efforts by Qeeri in this direction.“Food security and food systems' sustainability are an integral part of the research topics across all centres and programmes at Qeeri. Thanks to its diverse expertise, Qeeri is tackling the environmental, economic, and social challenges of improving local food production and enhancing the food security sector in the country,” she added.
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