The Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) has affirmed that Qatar is pursuing an ambitious policy to promote local agricultural products, adding that the structural changes in the farming sector are in line with the strategic objectives of the development plans. In a speech to mark Arab Agriculture Day, which falls on Sept 27 every year and is held this year under the slogan 'towards resilient agriculture and food systems responsive to changes', Director of Agriculture Affairs Department Yusuf Khalid al-Khulaifi said that plans are underway to bring about a real change in the agricultural economic structure via diversifying the local production base with a focus on the optimal use and preservation of natural resources, improving economic and marketing efficiency, and continuing to improve the quality of local crops in a manner that achieves environmental balance, and prepares the sector to deal flexibly and efficiently with local, regional and international developments.
Al-Khulaifi said that the ministry followed an ambitious policy to advance local production and set goals by supporting farmers and investors in the agricultural sector by providing advice and guidance, granting loans and support for productive inputs of seeds and pesticides, providing farms destined for organic agriculture and providing beehives for free to farm owners.
In addition, the owners of private farms have been supported by finding solutions to the challenges they face, such as heat, high humidity, scarcity, and poor water quality, as the ministry encouraged the transformation of farms from traditional irrigation systems to modern ones, by granting farms Qatar Development Bank soft loans, with an interest of 1-1.5% only, to be repaid over eight years.
Al-Khulaifi added that the ministry focused on localizing greenhouse technology in Qatari farms as an effective way to increase the production of vegetables on Qatari farms on the one hand, and reduce water consumption and raise unit productivity on the other hand, while recent years have witnessed a significant increase in the areas planted with greenhouses, as it was 520 hectares in 2019 and became 645 hectares, an increase of 125 hectares, which is estimated at 24%.
Al-Khulaifi added that in order to protect the country's agricultural production from the risk of pests and diseases, the Agricultural Affairs Department is subjecting all plants, agricultural products, and other materials to phytosanitary regulations to agricultural quarantine procedures, noting that this great development in the sector came as a result of Qatar's great interest in expanding production and encouraging local producers, which contributed to achieving sustainable development for the sector.
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