WATCH: Qatar beyond the blockade - the drive towards food security
Before June 5th of 2017, Qatar imported the vast majority of its food. A bit of a no-brainer, really, since it is primarily a desert.
As a report by Time Magazine in 2012 indicated, nearly 90 per cent of all of Qatar’s food was imported from abroad. A great deal of essentials, such as meat and dairy product, came overland through Saudi Arabia—until the Gulf Crisis, that is.
When the siege countries closed their borders and ceased all trade ties with Qatar, the small desert country, nearly surrounded, had to improvise.
Food security initiatives were already in the pipeline, but the blockade sped them to progress and, in some cases, fruition.
The best example of this would be that of Baladna Food Industries, a Qatari food company and the country’s largest producer of dairy, that decided to fly in cows from different parts of the world to Qatar and shore up domestic milk production when the siege began.
Earlier this year, Baladna announced their aim to meet all of Qatar’s dairy product needs by Ramadan in May.
The company owned around 4,000 cows at the start of 2018, which it successfully airlifted into the country by July of the previous year as an almost immediate reaction to the imposition of the blockade.
Baladna farm is now in the process of importing 10,000 more, with one of it’s recent milestones being the successful import of 3,200 Holstein cows bred in Arizona, California and Wisconsin to Hamad Port in March.
Dairy products aren’t the only thing that Baladna provides. According to its mission, Baladna also aims to be “the best supplier of lamb and mutton in the market by utilising the most advanced techniques to ensure the production of high quality meats.”
Baladna Food Industries is also expected to launch juices in the local market by the end of this year, according to The Peninsula.
The company is currently in the process of setting up a factory for production of juices.
“The new factory will be ready in the third quarter. There’ll be production lines in the new factory. So, by the end this year, we’ll be in the market with juices,” Baladna CEO Peter Weltevreden told The Peninsula.
Baladna’s decision to foray into the juice market is good news for local consumers. Not only will consumers get more options, it will also be a significant step towards making the country self-sufficient in fruit juices.
Currently, this sector in the country is serviced by local as well as imported products.
By 2019, Baladna farm is set to function to full capacity.
Private local companies such as Baladna Food Industries are able to take on such ambitious initiatives thanks to Qatar’s 2018 state budget, released this week, includes a plan to award QAR 29bn worth of contracts to support growth in the private sector.
In light of the recent sanctions and challenges, Qatar is also working to boost the local poultry market, implementing the latest technologies and highest bio-security measures to build the largest poultry farm in the country.
The Qatari-owned Dar Al Rayan Investment Company is behind the initiative, which is under the name Al Rayan Poultry. The initiative is being launched in a bid to ‘revolutionise’ the poultry sector in Qatar, and aims to produce as many as 70,000 tonnes of broiler meat and 250 million eggs per year.
The project will cost QAR 1.6 billion, and the farm will span 15 million square meters of land.
Qatar’s heavy investment in these projects and initiatives IS more than just a knee-jerk reaction to the siege, it also reflects a move towards fulfilling a longer-term vision, for when the oil dries up.
Content Writer - Mariam Mahsud
oh and baladna, if you're reading this, please, we need fresh breakfast cream too; the almarai cream was superb and the only alternative easily available right now from dandy, is really average at best; so there's an opportunity there to come up with a great hearty breakfast cream and corner that bit of the market too :-)
they could not have chosen a better name than baladna; and i'm sincerely hoping their juices will be as nice as the almarai ones; my own biggest personal loss from the blockade was almarai haha...but i've already forgotten their milk amd yogurt because of the equally good or better alternatives now in the stores; what is missing is some good fresh local juices; the varieties being brought in from other countries are mostly preservative and sugar laden syrups; we need good local juices; also, very happy that qbake has really stepped up its game nowadays; their prepackaged puffs/croissants/pies were mediocre before but i see a real difference with both presentation and quality ever since we lost the almarai equivalents :-)
I am so much excited about it ................
I am so much excited about it ................
Qatar Deserves The BEST!