As Reuters correspondent Martina Fuchs reports, Qatar’s next big purchase is a farming sector:
[Qatar] aims to produce most of its food domestically, by spending massively to boost crop yields and convert semi-desert into agricultural land.
Qatar’s Crown Prince Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani issued a decree this year to organize the Qatar National Food Security Program (QNFSP), tackling “one of the most pressing challenges that Qatar is facing.”
Qatar currently imports some 90 percent of its food, but a 10-year plan outlined by Fahad Bin Mohammed al-Attiya, QNFSP’s chairman, would drop that down to 30-40 percent, with implementation beginning in 2014.
That plan, which as yet has no final price tag, includes more than doubling the number of farms in the country, and utilizing a variety of techniques: open fields, greenhouses, and hydroponics. It would also involve the creation of solar desalination plants to provide water for the agricultural ventures, and reduce reliance on Qatar’s rapidly depleting aquifers.