QNFSP head calls for regulating agriculture, farm operators
LANI ROSE R DIZON
DOHA THERE is a need to regulate the agricultural profession in Qatar and farm operators must be certified to take up their posts, said Fahad bin Mohammed al Attiya, executive chairman of the Qatar National Food Security Programme (QNFSP).
He was delivering a presentation at the 10th Gulf Water Conference in Doha on Sunday.
According to al Attiya, efficiency in water consumption for Qatar’s agricultural sector is compromised due to the lack of detailed regulation on the methods of production in domestic agriculture and with no clear guidelines on efficiency set up for farm operators.
He also said, “Agricultural production at farm levels needs to be regulated. Farmers who operate on farmlands should be capable and have the necessary skills.
We need a certifying body for every farm operator which would provide certification tests to them. So, instead of using 15 cubic metres of water to grow a hectare of wheat, a certified farm operator would know how to use only eight.” Al Attiya also spoke about regulating agricultural technology and production.
“Until now, there is still no GCC food safety agency. We need to expedite establishing a regional food safety agency. Qatar is now on the roadmap to establishing its food security agency. And soon, we’ll be having high-tech agricultural farms, once we regulate farm operators who would by then know which technologies to apply in their farms,” he added.
Qatar is currently 90 percent importdependent with only one tenth of its arable land being cultivated, al Attiya said.
However, he said that the country would be food and water secure by 2024.
“Two more years and we’ll have our master plan on Qatar food security completed by 2014. We have 17 government agencies and non-government organisations working on the project. After 10- year implementation, we will improve our self-sufficiency by using sustainable domestic food production model using environmentally sound technology and a market stabilisation process. We will also secure external sources of supply via import diversification and intelligent investment strategies within the supply chain,” he said.
Al Attiya also said that the market for locally produced food and technologies would be developed to compete with imported products.