All photos by Chantelle D’mello
Qatar’s farmers’ markets have officially opened for a new season, with offerings of fresh produce, fish and livestock, among other items, at discount prices in three different locations around the country.
In addition to homegrown vegetables and some fruits produced by 77 farms here, poultry, fish and livestock and more are being sold by eight fisheries, 40 barns, 80 apiaries and 12 poultry farms.
Speaking to Doha News this morning, several vendors at the Al Wakrah Yard, located near the Al Wakrah Hospital roundabout, said that they hoped to exceed last year’s sales.
“It’s only been open for a day, so we can’t say much, but there weren’t that many people here yesterday,” said Mohammed Tayub, a Bangladeshi vendor operating two stalls by Global Farms, a local facility located in Umm Salal Ali.
He added: “Today is a holiday, so we’re expecting more people to come by.”
The stalls, which are set up around the shaded perimeter of the yard, sell fresh local produce – glistening with water to help retain moisture – by the carton.
Prices range from between QR 5-20 for various types of crops, with zucchinis, eggplant, spinach and cucumbers among some of the more popular offerings.
According to one official, the Al Wakrah market’s debut yesterday resulted in some 1,363 boxes of vegetables and 1,710 boxes of fruit being sold.
The market also hosts a small poultry yard, selling live chickens, as well a small nursery with plants.
While the predominant clientele today appeared to be women, many men and expat families could also be seen browsing the market’s offerings.
For 40-year old Indian resident Liji Peter, the trip was more a family outing than a grocery run, as she also planned to visit relatives in Al Wakrah.
Peter, who lives in Duhail, said that while she thought the open-air market was a good idea, a wider range of produce might help draw in a larger crowd.
“Most of the vegetables here, we Indians don’t really cook with. It’s fewer options than I would get at the grocery store, for example. But still, we bought spinach and string beans – but if they had more selection, I would come here more often,” she said.
Another issue, Peter added, was the large quantity in which produce was sold.
“We’re a small family. Yes, the prices are good, but we have to buy in cartons. I wanted a few potatoes, not a 6kg sack!” she said, while agreeing that the bulk option would appeal to large families or groups of workers.
In addition to the Al Wakrah Yard, farmers markets are also located at the Al Mazrouah Yard near Umm Salal Stadium, and in Al Khor at the Al Dhakira yard.
All three markets in Qatar will operate Thursdays to Saturdays from 7am to 5pm until around May next year, when the weather becomes too hot for the farms to yield enough crops.
Do you plan to shop at the markets? Thoughts?