One of the smallest countries in the Arabian Peninsula, Qatar is hardly a model of agricultural efficiency. With its small size and hostile climate, the Arabian country subsides on oil exports and food imports.
However, recent announcements by the Qatari government indicate that the small OPEC nation is planning a major overhaul of its agricultural sector.
Recently, Qatar’s Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani announced the creation of the Qatar National Food Security Programme, an organization committed to expanding domestic Qatari food production and making the country agriculturally self-sufficient.
According to the Food Security chair, “We anticipate that domestic food production, if new technologies are applied and the efficiency system enforced, can easily reach 60 percent of our market needs. We anticipate that domestic demand can be met by 60 to 70 percent.”
Currently, the Qatari population, about 1.2 million with only 20 percent Qatari citizens, is fed through food imports and overseas production. Over the past several years, Qatar has bought agricultural land in Sudan, Australia, and is planning agricultural projects in Kenya, Brazil, and other locations.
International food experts have stated that, given Qatar’s size, population, and currency reserves, this system of foreign production is sustainable. Increasing Qatari food production, many experts believe, will lead only to economic waste and ecological devastation.
Qatari leaders, however, are committed to food independence by 2024.
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