In a bid to enhance Qatar’s food security, the government is floating plans to establish a new chicken farm complex that aims to almost quadruple the amount of poultry produced in the country.
The facility would be 5.7 sq km in size and would have the capacity to produce up to 40,000 tons of chicken and 7.5 tons of eggs each year. It would be partly funded by the private sector, according to the concept designed by a technical team from the Ministry of Economy and Commerce, which is coordinating with the Ministry of Environment.
A survey produced by the committee forecasts that the plant could reach maximum production capacity within two years of starting the project, Qatar Tribune reports.
The site would have a number of facilities, including 4.5 sq km dedicated to broiler breeding – fast-growing breeds of chicken raised specifically for their meat.
There will also be 1 sq km of egg poultry farms, hatchery poultry farms, a fodder mill, a slaughter house and a section for processing and manufacturing poultry products.
In terms of how the poultry complex would operate financially, the government would lease land to build the farms, which investors would then be encouraged to buy a stake in.
Hashem Aqeel al-Aqeel, chief executive officer of Investment House, a Doha-based bank that is an advisor on the project, told Bloomberg that institutional investors have already committed QR750 million ($206 million), with an initial public offering (IPO) possible by next year.
Al-Aqeel said the plan was to start raising money by producing eggs and feed before moving on to poultry meat.
This is not the first time plans to produce more home-grown poultry have been discussed. Last year, Widam sought a license to build a $124 million poultry plant, which it said would produce 22 million chickens a year to sell domestically.
However, the project struggled to achieve the necessary government approvals to get it off the ground.
If the plans get off the ground, the complex will likely be welcome news to Qatar’s shoppers, due to the availability of more home-grown produce.
Qatar currently imports 90 percent of its food, which leaves it vulnerable to market fluctuations.
In late 2012, supermarket cooler shelves in Qatar lacked fresh chicken after Saudi Arabia imposed a ban on the export of all poultry products. At the time, KSA was trying to sufficiently supply its domestic market and stabilize prices.
In response, Qatar Meat & Livestock Company, now known as Widam, started importing chicken from Bulgaria.
Though Qatar produces around 11,000 tons of chicken domestically, it imports the vast majority of its poultry products. About 72 percent is frozen poultry from Brazil, and 6 percent is fresh from Saudi Arabia, according to QatarVironment.org.
US Department of Agriculture data shows that Qatar’s domestic consumption of food is set to grow 9.9 percent next year, to reach 111,000 tons, a surge that reflects the ongoing population growth.
As such, it has forecast that imports would have to increase by 11 percent, to 100,000 tons in 2015 to meet the demand, Bloomberg stated.
While this new poultry facility wouldn’t meet all Qatar’s needs, it would be a start in the quest for greater food security and comes on the heels of plans to boost the number of fish in Qatar’s waters.
In October this year, it was announced that Qatar is setting up a QR230 million ($63.16 million) aquatic research center in a bid to replenish its fast-depleting fish stocks.
Featuring huge fish and prawn hatcheries, the center would produce and release into the sea each year eight tons of fingerlings and six tons of baby prawns, the Peninsula reported.
The fingerlings will be of species of fish popular in Qatar such as hamour, assafi, assham and assubaith. The 110,000 sqm site in Ras Al Matbakh near Al Khor is expected to open by the end of 2015.
Meanwhile, in April this year, the government set up an Implementation Committee, with representatives across numerous ministries, tasked with carrying out Qatar’s National Food Security Plan in conjunction with the private sector.
With the aim of creating a more resilient national food system, the plan’s recommendations include:
- Strategically diversifying international trade and investment;
- Improving the domestic market;
- Increasing strategic food and water reserves; and
- Increasing the water efficiency and productivity of local food production.
Food Security is important. Animal Welfare is also important, and given that there seem to be no animal welfare laws in Qatar, this venture leaves me with grave misgivings. Chickens are not just a food commodity, they are social, intelligent, easily stressed animals, and there is a wealth of husbandry advice available which I IMPLORE the authorities to put in place here.
You’ve got to be joking that goes against their religious beliefs. Not really possible to make slitting an animals throat and letting it bleed to death part of animal welfare.
All animals bred for the food chain are slaughtered. Its never pretty and the abattoirs in the West have practices which are less than perfect, especially for chickens. None of that means that the animals cant have a good quality of life before that, they are sentient after all. Simple things like room to move around, places to roost, cleanliness, fresh air, all of which also contribute to a greatly improved quality of product. Win Win
We are what we eat.
If you eat diseased stressed animals because they are cheap, then don’t be surprised if you end up stressed and ill yourself.
Happy animals = happy meat = happy people.
I take it you’re a vegetarian then.
Ahh..have you seen how they treat humans? Chickens dont stand a chance.
What about food security for the chickens?
These chickens will be no better in quality than the awful grey stuff that comes from Saudi and UAE. It’s all jam packed factory food.
I knew one of the designers involved with the spec of this set up and he swore he would never eat the chicken produced here.
So sad when Qatar has the money and the opportunity to look at what is done wrong in other countries that they don’t decide to want to do it better and more ethically. They could have been the forerunners in animal husbandry and quality food production. Instead they have fallen for the ‘produce as much as you can as fast as you can irrespective of animal suffering’ in order to make money.
I don’t have a problem with halal method of killing. One quick decisive strike can be better than the production line electrocution that often misses and leaves an animal half dead and bleeding to death.
hai … i like to start the poultry farm in qatar . but i dont have any support to start the business her. am an indian citizen now an in qatar in visiting visa. so any one Spencer to start the farm her………
hai , any one help me to start the poultry farm in qatar. nw i am in qatar work as procurement clerk. am confidant to full fill the qatar food security replay me as email [email protected]
government support to start the poultry farm pls……any one ….. i will prove the success ….will you pls help me any one ….