30 Jan 2018 – 10:08
By Mohammad Shoeb | The Peninsula
DOHA: The Qatar Development Bank (QDB) is set to launch a major initiative towards achieving self-sufficiency in food production, especially vegetables and fruits.
Under this unique initiative, QDB is planning to start a comprehensive programme for citizens. The bank will provide all needful support and training on “home-farming” to produce vegetables and fruits within the backyards of their houses and villas by using hydroponics technology. Hydroponics system is a new method of growing plants without soil. It’s a water-intensive technique of farming, which is part of hydroculture, using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent.
“For achieving self-sufficiency in terms of food production, we now have a new programme to promote ‘home-farming’, which is going to be a major initiative towards self-sufficiency. This is in addition to our focus to support local farmers to boost their output,” Khalid Abdulla Al Mana, Executive Director for Business Finance at QDB told The Peninsula, yesterday, on the sidelines of a press conference about Qatar Self-Sufficiency Exhibition, which will be held at Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC) from April 1-3.
Al Mana added: “QDB is providing full supports to SMEs, local farmers and entrepreneurs. Healthcare and medicine is another area of our focus. We also help local businesses and entrepreneurs to establish clinics and pharmaceutical manufacturing units in Qatar. We have many such projects in the healthcare sector in our portfolio.”
Asked if there was a demand-supply gap in the market for some products, he said that QDB has been constantly monitoring and updating its database to understand the market dynamics in the right perspective. “We have to be aware about the market dynamics when we put additional capacity in the existing supply as we do not want to over invest in a certain area, which may pose a challenge in longer run,” he added.
“We have a very qualified team of experts who are well equipped with relevant information and market data obtained through various surveys and studies conducted time-to-time to make demand and supply analyses. We also have consultants advising us.”
Commenting on Tasdeer, QDB’s export promotion arm, he noted that export promotion and development programme will continue to be an important pillar of QDB. There is no change in our strategy.
Exports help Qatari economy in two ways. It brings foreign exchange to local economy and secondly, exports improve efficiency, competitiveness and quality standards of local products.