Widam seeks to shore up Qatar’s chicken supply with $124 million poultry plant
Following last year’s chicken shortage, the Qatar Meat and Livestock Co. (formerly known as Mawashi) has been working on plans to move into poultry products.
The company, now known as Widam Food, aims to produce 22 million chickens a year to sell domestically, Bloomberg reports.
It has sought a license to build a $124 million poultry plant, but government approval has been slow as land and water issues are being studied, said Ahmad Nasser Sariya Al-Kaabi, managing director.
Reducing food dependence
In the fall of 2012, Qatar witnessed a severe shortage of fresh chicken after Saudi Arabia stopped exporting poultry, due in part to demand in its own country.
Despite initial claims that Qatar’s locally raised chickens could cover the shortfall left by the ban, many stores around Doha sold out of fresh poultry within hours of putting it on the shelves.
Qatar previously saw shortages and rising prices of poultry in 2009, amid fears of avian influenza (bird flu).
Widam, which is diversifying away from cattle into poultry, also plans to pursue fish farming and build a new plant to make hamburger, sausage and other processed meats, Al-Kaabi told Bloomberg.
Qatar imports 90 percent of its food and has been working to shore up its food security so as to reduce its dependence on goods from other countries.
Credit: Photo by Chesapeake Bay Program