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Qatar plans to cut dependence on food imports

Project under way to use seawater as medium for growing vegetables and fruit

Gulf News

Manama: Authorities involved with an ambitious project in Qatar, the Sahara Forest Project, said they were determined to contribute to plans undertaken by the government and Qatari organisations to reduce the country’s heavy reliance on food imports.

Qatar, like other member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), relies heavily on importing food to meet the needs of growing populations.

Officials overseeing the project said they would be capable of building mega plants to generate power, extract fertiliser and desalinate water within three years, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.

The project’s CEO Joachim Hauge said it is based on the concept of setting up greenhouses which use seawater to provide cold and wet conditions for growing vegetables and fruit. “We hope that we can contribute to the plans undertaken by the government and national organisations such as the Qatar National Food Security Programme, and others,” he said in comments on Qatar’s ability to secure its future needs with the project.

“Of course we have great ambitions to reduce reliance on imported food.”

According to Hauge, increasing food production by 70 per cent by the year 2070 will be a major challenge for humanity and organisations are “working tirelessly to meet the challenges in the future”.

Speaking to QNA, Hauge drew attention to environmental challenges too. “There is a need for an approach to handle the interlaced challenges,” he said.