Food security is a hot topic in Qatar these days, which is now importing more than 90 percent of its food to feed a rapidly growing population.
Though the number of people living here has doubled in the past seven years, the Gulf country still uses an outdated system of processing and distributing food to the market, the Peninsula reports.
This costs consumers greatly, in terms of both rising prices and the nutritional value of their food, suppliers assert.
They add that it’s time to improve this process, so that goods can reach consumers in a timelier and more cost-effective way.
Speaking to the Peninsula, Ali Hasan Al Khalaf, Chairman of Qatar Consumer Complexes, said:
“The country needs to develop big warehouses so that importers can source food in big volumes from the countries of origin instead of buying from second or third parties. There are not enough warehouses to support the food requirements of the current level of population as per the level of food security we are aspiring to achieve.”
“With a state-of-the-art new airport and an upcoming seaport, we cannot continue leaving the country’s food security at the mercy of others due to a lack of enough warehouses and better logistics.”
In addition to building more warehouses, businessmen recommended cutting out the middlemen.
For example, Saudi Arabia may import several types of fruits and vegetables from various countries, which Qatar may then import here – lengthening the supply chain and reducing the quality of freshness of the food.
Experts said it’s better for Qatar to source these imports directly from the country of origin – though this would require improving storage facilities to accommodate the food.
Mindful of its tenuous food security, Qatar has set a 10-year target to grow 40 percent of its own food by 2024. It is also investing in food companies and farmland abroad to shore up its stock of goods.
The Qatar National Food Security Program has been leading the charge on this initiative, and has previously discussed:
- More than doubling the number of farms in the country;
- Utilizing a variety of techniques, including open fields, greenhouses, and hydroponics; and
- Creating solar desalination plants to provide water for the agricultural ventures, and reduce reliance on Qatar’s rapidly depleting aquifers.
I wonder who is going to grow all this food then by 2024? Oh, right!
Honestly, I don’t want to eat something that has grown in Qatar because of the pollution in this country…maybe you should work on this first to create a suitable environment!
Poor planning in Qatar…really?
its so frustrating in Qatar that everything takes SO long to plan, you have to jump through so many hoops for everything. But almost everything is badly planned. Qatar really needs to address this problem asap, but I doubt they will
Its not that there are no big warehouses or stores in Qatar but its just that a lot of them are are so badly organized and mismanaged and are hardly put to proper or efficient use and a lot of them are staffed and operated by people who have no clue about warehousing or related matters and that’s one reason you see a lot of warehouses at the Industrial area operating as garages, paint workshops, residential accomodations, etc
Classic trial and error situation. “Let’s wait for the problem to hit first and then we’ll have all the time in the world to solve it”
When you see the quality of the majority warehouses and their location where your food is stored you would be shocked. I have visted many sites and they are not fit for purpose especially for storing food.
When it comes to warehousing Qatar always wants the cheapest, lowest quality with general poorly trained staff operating them but they charge the end user extortiante storage rates hence high food prices.
Exactly… and so many fly by night operators who want to make the maximum amount of money in the least possible time and multinational companies are no exception to this greed like this Swedish logistics company who does not even have a proper office to call an office right now
If it only happened to warehousing…
The airport has a state of the art cargo handling facility…now the only thing it needs is a qualified workforce. Unfortunately that’s the general situation, spend billions on facilities and employ people that have no regard for health and safety or have any knowledge or the ability to understand the training provided.
Expats come and go but it’s the locals that should be worried about the long term effects of having food handled as if it were construction material.
Locals need to get involved properly and build their country for themselves and their kids and not rely on expats. Some things you shouldn’t trust anyone else with, food is one of those things.
Qatar has actually cut the budget being used to grow local food, because it was being watered with desalinated ocean water, which is expensive.