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Qatar launches self-sufficiency plan amid Gulf rift

March 15, 2018 at 1:15 pm

A customer views a chicken at Al Meera market in Doha, Qatar on June 9, 2017. People only rushed to markets and stocked food until the shelves were empty on the first day when the crisis broke out between Qatar and Gulf countries. Markets that sell Turkish products are available for shopping as the life turned back to normal in Doha. ( Mohamed Farag – Anadolu Agency )

Qatar plans to become more self-reliant over the next five years and reduce its dependence on foreign expertise and produce, the country’s second five-year National Development Strategy for 2018 to 2022 revealed yesterday.

The strategy pledges to “rationalise energy consumption and encourage development of renewable energy while raising self-sufficiency levels for farming and fishing production.”

The 333-page, announced by Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Qatar’s prime minister, seeks to satisfy 30 per cent of its demand for farm animals and 65 per cent of its demand for fish domestically.

Qatar intends to directly invest in sustainable growth, attract and retain a skilled work force and develop the entrepreneurial private sector. The strategy falls in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030 to build a country based on justice, equality and stability that uses Doha’s resources optimally.

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Qatar will primarily look to become self-sufficient in food and sustainable use of renewable energy amid the ongoing blockade levied in June last year led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Turkey and Iran were quick to supply Qatar with food imports following the announcement of the siege.

Qatar Farms project

As a result of the blockade, Qatar has been banned from using the airspace and waterways of a number of boycotting countries and this has led to an increase in import costs. Vegetables have doubled in price leading to the Ministry of Municipalities and Environment (MEE) and the Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) launching the Qatar Farms project with the aim of reducing dependence on imported vegetables by 50 per cent.

In February, 300 tonnes of locally grown agricultural products were sold across the country.

Some 4,000 cows were also imported to help meet milk demands.