Qatar Plans Food Cluster to Boost Supplies at Home

Qatar will invest 1.6 billion riyals ($431 million) to create a food-processing and storage center nearby Hamad Port in about two years which will more than meet local need for rice, sugar and cooking oil.

Doha-based Al Jaber Engineering gained the contract also has 26 weeks to design and build the project for the state’s food security, Jassim bin Saif al-Sulaiti, ministry of communications and transport, told reporters Sunday in Doha. Qatar encouraged companies to bid on the project this past year, prior to the Saudi-led transaction boycott against Qatar that started in June.

Food security is important in the Middle East because absence of rain and excessive heat ensure it is tough to grow grains and develop livestock farms. Qatar is now a tougher position since it relied on food coming across the border with Saudi Arabia, which cut diplomatic and trade connections with its neighbor . A 38 percent of Qatar’s food used to emerge Saudi Arabia, according to Mazen Al-Sudairi, head of research at Al Rajhi Capital.

“This is actually the first time these commodities will be processed in Qatar,” al-Sulaiti explained. It will begin looking for a handling agent for your project next year, he said.

The undertaking will have weekly capacity to create 300,000 kilograms (300 metric tons) of raw sugars, 600,000 kilograms of rice and 200,000 kilograms of cooking oils, said Maisar Jamil El-Qutami, project executive director at New Port Project, the government body building the center near Hamad Port, about 30 km (19 miles) south of Doha.  Storage centers may maintain enough of the foods to meet demand for over a couple of years. Some production is going to be utilized in animal feed, and about 30 percent of the output could be exported, ” he said.

Other companies involved in the project comprise Switzerland’s Buhler AG, German BIA along with Italy’s C.M. Bernardini, that specializes in equipment for its fats and oil industry, as reported by a Qatar transport ministry press statement.

Transport Minister al-Sulaiti said Qatar is contemplating investment in ports abroad, but declined to be specific.

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