The three farmer markets selling fresh local vegetables and imported fruits in the winter and spring months will remain open next week (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) despite increasing day temperatures as supplies of summer vegetables produced locally have not ceased.
The authorities concerned have not announced any deadline for closing the three markets as summer has begun. The markets are shut down in May and normally reopen in November-December.
A release from the Ministry of Environment, which boasts an agricultural affairs department, has also announced that at least one Qatari farm has begun producing square-shaped watermelon, which is easy to transport.
The three-days-a-week farmer markets are Al Mazrouah near Umm Salal, one in Al Khor which also covers residents of Al Dhakhira and the third one is in Al Wakra.
Qatari summer vegetables include jute leaves (Mulukhia), sweet melons and watermelons as well as cucumber. The Ministry said some 32 types of summer vegetables are produced in Qatar and they are of high quality as compared to imported vegetables.
The vegetables are in high demand since they are fresh and available at affordable prices. For example, the prices of jute leave range between QR3 and QR4 for a bundle of a kilogram.
A box of seven to ten kgs of sweet melons is sold at QR20 to QR35. A box of watermelon is available for QR20 to QR30. A five-kg box of cucumber is sold at QR14. So far, the farmer markets have completed five months in this season. The Ministry of Environment wants to stretch the season as much as possible to encourage local farmers to increase production and expand arable areas.
The Ministry plans to increase the agricultural season gradually. The markets were thrown open two years ago and they operated for four months. In the second season, last year the markets remained open for five months. The markets are in the six months of operation this year.
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