(MENAFN- The Peninsula) ayeni olusegun |
As Qatar's agricultural sector burgeons into a central pillar of the country's sustainable development infrastructure, the private sector has been a significant player in Qatar's food security drive.
In this regard, Dr. Masoud Al Marri, Head of the Food Security Department at the Ministry of Municipality, while speaking during a session of the 'Regional Conference for the Arab Region and West Asia - Global Sustainable Development Report 2023' yesterday, said the government supports the private sector in food production, processing and storage in line with its food security strategy.
In his presentation, Dr Al Marri disclosed that Qatar's pathway to a resilient and sustainable healthy food system by 2030 is guided by several policies, including food trade and trade route diversification; boosting sustainable food production; building strategic reserves; efficient, safe and equitable domestic markets; research, development and innovation; and sustainable and healthy food consumption.
“The role of the private sector covers food production, processing and manufacturing, and storage logistics. If we look at the Qatar food security strategy, it depends on four pillars (international trade and logistics, domestic self-sufficiency, domestic markets, and strategic reserves). The private sector does domestic self-sufficiency for crops that can be produced in Qatar to meet demand.
“We have a system with the private sector to run our strategic reserve. We also have a project at Hamad Port for a huge quantity of food to be stored there that can serve our system and become a hub to help us grow our economy. That is going to be operated by the private sector - the construction is already finished, and we are now in the process of tendering this project to the private sector,” Dr. Al Marri said.
According to him, the government facilitates the import of food that isn't grown in Qatar through the private sector.
“This import is significant to have high-quality products reach the consumers at a good price. The private sector plays a vital role in international trade, especially in some critical perishables which need to be imported regularly, and for critical non-perishable food,” he added. The Food Security Department of the Ministry of Municipality recently launched the process to develop the second National Food Security Strategy 2023-2030, building on the success of the first National Food Security Strategy 2018-2023.
According to government figures, the first strategy met its targets and increased the nation's sufficiency rate in fresh food, including vegetables, dairy and poultry products, and meat and fish. Consequently, the strategy also contributed to Qatar securing top place among Arab countries and 24th place in a ranking of 113 countries in the Global Food Security Index (GFSI) 2021, issued by UK-based the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).