Beyond its local initiatives to promote growth of goods, Qatar has partnered with other global high-tech farming companies.
Qatar’s greenhouse market growth is forecast to reach $309.2 million by 2027, according to a report by leading market research company IMARC Group.
Titled “Qatar Greenhouse Market: Industry Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity and Forecast 2022-2027”, the report expected the industry to grow by 14.5% between 2022-2027.
Last year, the Qatar greenhouse market’s value reached $137.2 million. Greenhouses are used to provide an environment for crops to efficiently grow despite challenges caused by climate change.
The farming technique uses advanced technologies that increase the shelf life of crops.
A potential reason behind the significant spike in the local market value for greenhouse farming could be attributed to Qatar’s efforts to increase its produce.
Qatar had started growing its self-sufficiency over the past years, especially following the 2017 GCC crisis. At the time, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt imposed an illegal air, land and sea blockade on Qatar.
Qatar relied on imported goods for more than 80 percent of its food before the crisis, which prompted it to provide alternative products for its population.
In April, Youssef Al-Khulaifi, director of the Agricultural Affairs Department at the Ministry of Municipality, told local Arabic daily Arrayah, that Qatari farms are expected to increase vegetable production by 2-3%.
The Qatari official said that the increase is due to the high demand for locally-sourced goods. In 2021, the total volume of vegetable production in Qatar reached 102,000 tonnes.
The Qatari government has been increasing its support to its farmers through the launch of agricultural initiatives and providing services and support across different local farms.
In the last five years, the Qatari ministry distributed 5,777 greenhouses to farm owners to ramp up its production.
Projects and partnerships
In 2021, Qatar launched its national agricultural project, a move that was seen as another milestone in the country’s self-sufficiency plan. The project was developed through an aquaponic system, which utilises aquaculture and hydroponics.
The first approach involves raising aquatic animals and the other cultivates plants in water.
The project’s production capacity is expected to reached 32,000 tonnes per year and applies the horizontal farming system. The adopted system replaces regular soil and fertilisers with another type that is produced by fish.
Beyond its local initiatives, Qatar has partnered with other global high-tech farming companies.
Last year, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the country’s sovereign wealth fund, agreed to back Dutch indoor farming startup Infarm with $200 million. The leading farming company is set to establish its first centre in Doha in 2023.
“We see vertical farming as a way to enhance food security in every part of the world,” said Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud, chief executive officer of QIA, as quoted by Bloomberg last year.
According to a statement by Infarm, the company’s Growing Centre in Qatar will harvest tomatoes and strawberries along with other fruiting crops beyond herbs and greens.
Infarm is aiming to expand its presence to 100 growing centres in 20 countries by 2030 and currently runs commercial operations across 11 nations. It also supplies prominent retailers including Amazon Fresh, Metro AG and Marks & Spencer Group Plc.
Vertical farming is ideal in addressing food security, given that it takes up less space, water and pesticides.