Qatar Islamic Bank signed to provide 1.6 billion riyals ($440 million) of financing to build a food processing and storage facility at the country’s Hamad Port, as Doha strengthens its resistance against sanctions by other Arab states.
The 530,000 square metre facility, to be built by AlJaber Engineering in about two years, will include equipment to process and refine rice, raw sugar and edible oils, the bank said on Wednesday.
It will also feature rice silos, warehouses and edible oil storage tanks. Some of the food processed by the facility may be exported regionally or globally, and waste products from the facility will be used to create animal feed.
The government-backed project was planned before Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of backing terrorism, which it denies.
But the facility has become more important to Qatar’s food security since the crisis began; the vast bulk of its food is imported, and the sanctions have halted transport of foodstuffs across the Saudi border while disrupting shipping routes.
Because of the sanctions, Qatari food and beverage prices rose 4.2 percent from the previous month in July, their fastest increase in at least several years, government data shows. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia, editing by Louise Heavens)