By Andy Sambidge
Gulf state starts drive to increase local food production, to achieve self sufficiency.
Qatar has launched a new initiative to achieve food supply security in an effort to reduce its dependency on imports.
The drive will initially involve research into arid land agriculture but Qatar, which imports 90 percent of its food requirements, aims to boost agricultural production to at least achieve self-sufficiency, if not produce surplus for exports, Gulf Times reported on Tuesday.
A Qatar National Food Security Programme (QNFSP) has been launched with the objective to develop a comprehensive food security policy for the state by increasing local food production and securing the supplies of imported food, the paper added.
QNFSP will incorporate a taskforce of 14 institutions from across government and private sectors in the country as well as overseas.
The Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani announced the creation of the QNFSP at the World Summit on Food Security in Rome, Italy.
Currently, only one-third of the arable land occupied by farms is being cultivated, and agricultural production in Qatar has dropped 0.5 percent.
Levels of agricultural production have largely been limited because of water scarcity and depletion, poor soil quality, as well as unfavourable climate for farming, the paper added.