Two permanent vegetable markets to open soon in Qatar

Doha: The Ministry of Municipality and Environment represented by the Agricultural Affairs Department will open two air-conditioned farmers’ markets in Al Mazrouh and Al Wakra during forthcoming agricultural season. These markets, which will sell locally grown fresh vegetables, will remain open throughout the year, unlike current seasonal markets which operate only during the winter.

“The new facilities, the permanent farmers’ markets will be an addition to the existing five farmers’ markets which offer fresh vegetables from local farmers to the customers directly without middlemen and brokers at reasonable prices,” said Yusuf Khalid Al Khulaifi, Director of Agriculture Affairs Department talking to The Peninsula on the sidelines of an event held yesterday.

He said that the existing farmers’ markets will be upgraded to meet the rising demand of marketing platforms with growing local agricultural produce. He said that new markets will enable local farmers to sell their produce from greenhouses, even during off season when seasonal vegetable markets are closed.

“The greenhouses and shaded farms, which have been set up with the support of the Ministry, are producing vegetables in large quantity during summer and throughout the year,” said Al Khulaifi.

The greenhouses are equipped with the latest farming technologies and advanced irrigation system to reduce water consumption helped extend the agricultural season in the country.

Speaking about the goal set up by the Ministry to achieve self-sufficiency in vegetable production up to 70 percent by 2023, Al Khulaifi said that the target will be achieved by developing the existing farms and launching new giant agricultural projects.

The winter vegetable markets in Al Mazrouha, Al Wakra, Al Khor Al Zakhira, Al Shamal and Al Sheehania helped market over 30 percent of total vegetables produced by local farms during the season.

Over 7,288 tonnes of local vegetables were sold out at these markets during the last season (2018-19).

Al Khulaifi was speaking to media persons on the sidelines of a workshop on ‘National Training Course on Marketing Strategies and Channels for Small and Medium Farms’.

The four-day event is being organised by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment represented by the Agricultural Affairs Department in collaboration with the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD) at the headquarters of Agricultural and Fish Affairs Sector of the Ministry.

The course, which is held for the first time in the field of marketing for farms, comes within a series of courses held by the Ministry in cooperation with AOAD, in order to educate the trainees about agricultural marketing process.

The employees from the Agricultural Affairs Department, Food Security Department and Agricultural Research Department at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment are participating in the training course.

Representatives from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Planning and Statistics Authority and Hassad Food Company are also attending the course.

Eng. Mohamed Abdelkarim Al Awamla (left) and Yousef Khalid Al Khelaifi during the workshop, yesterday. Pic: Baher Amin / The Peninsula

“The course on marketing of small and medium farms, comes within the programmes of the Ministry to support and encourage owners of local farms, which began in 2012 with the establishment of winter vegetable markets,” said Al Khulaifi.

He said the Ministry then launched Premium Qatar Farms Program and Qatar Farms Program at major shopping outlets and the most recently Mahaseel for Marketing and Agricultural Services, a subsidiary of Hassad Food Company to serve the purpose.

An expert in the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD) Eng. Mohamed Abdelkarim Al Awamla said that Qatar has become a pioneer in agricultural production in the Arab region, especially in the Gulf region.

Al Awamla attributed this agricultural development in Qatar to the use of modern technologies to increase production to raise the value of products in the market, and the protection of available natural resources, especially water.

This workshop comes within the framework of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment’s interest in the marketing process for the products of local farms as part of its efforts to support and encourage farm owners to increase agricultural production and contribute to self-sufficiency.

Source: Peninsula