Director of Food Security Department at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME), Masoud Jarallah Al Marri, has said that Qatar’s National Strategy for Food Security 2019-23 is able to meet 90 percent of the food demand in the country during COVID-19 outbreak.
“The strategy is based on increasing the storage capacity for general food items for long term and enhancing local production of perishable goods,” said Masoud Jarallah Al Marri, who was speaking to Alaraby TV yesterday.
He said that demand of remaining 10 percent food items is being met by alternative sources of import within 24 hours which were learned by experience after the blockade. “As per the strategy, every food item should have three to five different sources of import. In case of disruption in any one source of import, we can resort to alternative sources to restore supply within 24 hours,” said Al Marri.
He said that all necessary preparations were made and the supply lines were tested and challenges were studied during normal conditions.
“Qatar recently handled the shortage of onions quickly as the consumers could not feel it because of the strategies and the support of Qatar Airways and Hassad Food Company.”
He said the outbreak of COVID-19 is considered one of major crises which could impact food supply chain for countries which are not ready for this scenario.
“The food strategy of Qatar is based on four points which include local production, strategic reserve, international trade and supply in local market.” Regarding local products, he said, “We targeted producing vegetables. The local production has reached 28 percent of the total need of the country and it is planned to achieve self-sufficiency of up to 70 percent in vegetable production.” He said that Qatar achieved high level of self-sufficiency in a number of fresh local products including milk (117 percent) and chicken (125 percent).
“A number of projects were launched to increase the production of a number of fresh products including table eggs and vegetables,” said Al Marri.
He said that projects were also launched for fish farming on floating cages which will help to increase self-sufficiency rate of Qatar from 85 percent currently to 93 percent in coming years. “By the end of 2023, the local fresh food production will witness remarkable growth as projects which were launched at the start of the strategy are about to start producing soon,” said Al Marri.
He said that Qatar ensured the provision of agricultural inputs (seeds and fertilizers) and fodder for chicken to continue the production.