A local businessman is planning to fly some 4,000 cows into Qatar to jumpstart a new dairy farm.
The aim is to help boost Qatar’s fresh milk supply, which suffered after the Gulf dispute erupted last week.
According to Bloomberg, the $8 million project is the brainchild of Moutaz Al Khayyat, chairman of Power International Holding.
Al Khayyat is used to thinking big. He also heads Urbacon Trading & Contracting (UCC), which built the Mall of Qatar.
Speaking to Bloomberg, the official said the cows will be flown in on as many as 60 Qatar Airways flights, from Australia and the US. They weigh some 590kg apiece.
“This is the time to work for Qatar,” he said.
Up until a week ago, most of Qatar’s fresh dairy products came from Saudi Arabia.
But now that the border is closed, the country has been importing milk, yogurt and other goods from Iran and Turkey, among others.
It has also been selling its own homegrown products, though these are in limited supply.
However, Al Khayyat has been working to get a farm some 50km north of Doha up and running, as part of a larger plan to boost food security in Qatar.
According to Bloomberg:
“On a site covering the equivalent of almost 70 soccer fields, new grey sheds line two strips of verdant grass in the desert with a road running through the middle up to a small mosque.
It produces sheep milk and meat and there were already plans to import the cows by sea. Then Qatar was ostracized, so the project was expedited.”
The goal now is to launch milk production by month’s end, instead of in September.
Al Khayyat also ambitiously forecasted that his farm would cover a third of Qatar’s demand for fresh dairy by mid-July.