Qatar has set up a task force to deal with the country's food challenges and to formulate a national food protection policy.
The task force includes representatives from 14 ministries and was formed in line with Qatar's national strategy to encourage self-sufficiency in the food sector, Fahad Al Attiyah, Chairman of the Qatar National Food Security Programme (QNFSP) said at a workshop.
"We are in the process of framing new rules and regulations to support agriculture in the country," Al Attiyah was quoted as saying by the Qatar Tribune daily.
"Our strategy includes incentives to encourage people to invest in the farm sector so that Qatar does not have to depend on imports for its food needs," he added.
The national food protection policy to be formulated will focus on innovative technologies to boost agriculture.
"The food policy will ensure that farmers get adequate returns on their produce. There will be incentives for increasing food production in terms of latest technologies and financial support. We will take measures to reduce dependency on food imports by discouraging imports of food items that are being produced in the country," he said.
According to the official, adequate funds will be allocated for research on local production of food items and policies will be framed to help secure and sustain its supply. A sufficient quantity of food stock will be maintained to face any kind of shortage or emergency.
"Only 10 per cent of arable land in Qatar is used for cultivation. The rest of the food items are imported from outside. Seven countries supply 75 per cent of Qatar's food imports," he said.
Several measures have been planned to address the food security issue.
"They include use of solar energy, which will help in reducing the carbon footprint. Desalination and improved water management are other steps in this direction. Excess desalinated water will be used to recharge groundwater, besides being utlised for household purposes," Al Attiyah said.
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