Over the past few days, the Priva Middle East team has been in Qatar. Together with colleague Jan Westra from the Netherlands, our GM Giovanni A. visited various knowledge institutes, government entities and the well-known QTFA farm.

The trip, co-organised by Heba leith from the Netherlands Embassy in Qatar, included a visit to Hassad Food, Qatar’s premier investor in the food and agri-business sectors, and the Ministry of Municipality. During these visits, our Priva team discussed potential collaborations including the opportunity to jointly form an eco-system to achieve the set goals of Qatar’s food security strategy.

To build a robust food security strategy, Qatar has outlined its focus on four pillars:

1. Ensure that trade routes are diversified so that risk-exposure is limited and a contingency plan for alternative routes as needed;
2. Move food from port, field or reserves to table as efficiently as possible (i.e., limiting food losses/waste), with regulations that foster competition and encourage safety;
3. Put in place adequate but sensible reserve capacity to act as a buffer in time of crisis, both for inputs (water, seeds, fertilizer) and outputs (food products); and
4. Efficiently cultivate crops, meat and fish within the confines of a Qatar’s resource base to ensure a stable source of perishables in times of crisis, as well as providing a regulatory framework that creates incentives to focus on commodities that make sense from a cost-competitiveness point of view.

Source: (former) Qatar Ministry of Municipality & Environment (MME), Qatar Food Strategy 2018-2023.

Jan and Giovanni also met with representatives from Qatar University and the Qatar Environment & Energy Research Institute (QEERI) part of Hamad Bin Khalifa University. QEERI is a national research institute tasked with supporting Qatar in addressing its challenges related to energy, water and the environment. The institute’s work is in line with the goals set forth by Qatar National Vision 2030, and is supported by the Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation.

On Monday, a visit to Arab Qatari Agricultural Production Company (QTFA) was on the agenda. Established in 1989, QTFA is considered the largest agricultural farm in Qatar. Spanning a total land area of 200 hectares, the farm is divided into open fields and greenhouses (cooled and un-cooled). QTFA produces around 28 types of premium vegetables and among other well-known Dutch companies, Priva’s products are in place at the farm. Senior Agronomist Carol Khadra and Senior Production Supervisor Buddhi Magar very kindly took the time to show our colleagues around the farm and its locally produced crops, including tomatoes and cucumbers.

The trip to Qatar concluded with a luncheon with Dutch Ambassador, H.E. Mrs Marjan Kamstra, Deputy Ambassador, H.E. Tiest Sondaal, Business Developer Gulf Region NL Embassy, Heba leith, and Chairman of the Dutch Business Council Qatar, Robert W. Cats Cats.