Agricultural innovations from Qatar: vertical solutions to honey production
Farming in a desert climate can be extremely difficult, but Qatar aims to revolutionize farming solutions in its dry environment.
Innovative agricultural solutions
For seven decades, AGRICULTURAL supplies products to more than a thousand points of sale. As the president, Ahmed Al Khalaf says, the agricultural society has taken up climate challenges by learning from experts around the world while demonstrating local solutions to train emerging farmers.
Al Khalaf encourages businesses in the region to focus on food security and sustainability which he says are key to self-sufficiency. AGRICO’s seasonal greenhouses are used for different crops throughout the year using state-of-the-art agricultural technology. One of their most innovative approaches is aquaponics, a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics where bacteria help alter excretions from aquariums to fertilize plants which then absorb the extra nitrogen, returning water purified in aquaria. For the very first time, AGRICO also introduced aquaponics and vertical farming with LED lighting in a grocery store in Qatar. The general manager of the farm, Dr Fahad Saleh Ibrahim, explains: “Carrefour is a good place to raise public awareness of this method of cultivation. The plants are extremely healthy, we use less water and get more produce, harvesting only what we need. The technology is capable of growing various plants, including herbs, but also fruits like melons and tomatoes.
From farm to table
Organic products are gaining popularity in Qatar and Torba Store is a paradise for health conscious people. It’s also part of Torba Farms’ overall philosophy of farm-to-table produce, which includes two farmers’ markets. Founder, Fatma Al Khater, brought the concept to life, for the benefits of a sustainable lifestyle: “We are big fans of permaculture and the microbiome, so we have fermented foods ranging from kombucha to sauerkraut, and they really help achieve this holistic lifestyle that we’re trying to educate people about.” Torba has also embraced the opportunity to connect people to food, which is what their Farmer’s Market is all about, as well as uplifting small businesses.
The buzz around the honey house
While Qatar is on track to achieve its ambitious food self-sufficiency goals for 2023, honey production has increased in recent years with local bees and their honey, beeswax and propolis becoming more popular than ever. . There are thousands of bees at the Umm Qarn farm where beekeeper Arafat Hussain works: “I am perhaps one of the first people to produce pollen in Qatar, royal jelly, propolis and propolis products. Bees teach you sacrifice and sincerity in work.
Al Waha Farm, Samir Abadi, says they aspire to produce two tons of honey a year to meet the huge demand for golden nectar. Part of that passion is teaching future generations how to raise bees that are vulnerable to pesticides and natural predators, as well as climatic extremes. In their role as pollinators, bees are responsible for a third of the world’s food production. Overall, insects are in decline, but Qatar is making a real effort to focus on beekeeping, pollination and honey.