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New hydroponc Agrico farm brings organics to Qatar

A local farm in Qatar has developed a sophisticated hydroponics system, capable of producing various types of vegetables and fruits, in a bid to help the country achieve food security.

Speaking to Gulf Times, Agrico managing director Nasser Ahmed al-Khalaf said they had made a lot of modifications in hydroponics farming to produce an all-organic fresh produce in order to meet the growing demand in Qatar.

Agrico, a private local Qatari agricultural development company established in 2011 with the aim of helping Qatar achieve food security, operates a 120,000 sqm (12 hectares) organic farm in Al Khor. Its first production was in May 2012.

“Asians or Westerners did not develop a system that would be suitable for this area, especially Qatar,” he said. “What we did was to develop our own system, which would be suitable for our environment.”

The local farm owner noted that vegetable-exporting countries in Asia, Europe and the US have the technology and know-how but these are inapplicable in the Gulf.

Al-Khalaf explained that regions with proper winter, such as Europe, especially the northern parts, only have heating systems.

For Qatar's conditions, he said, they have developed a cooling system that can reduce the temperature inside the greenhouse to 16C, depending on the type of vegetables and fruits grown.

Some varieties need temperatures of around "16C, 18C or 20C during a certain time of the day" for the plant to have the right texture, size and taste, among other features.

“Our vegetables can last for a month on the shelves without changing,” he said, adding that they can produce an average of 6 tonnes daily during the summer, which is 30% lower than the winter production. The farm plans to produce more in the near future.

Read more at the Gulf Times

Publication date: 8/8/2017



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