A new QR1.6 billion food-processing and storage facility will be built near Hamad Port to shore up Qatar’s food supplies, officials have announced.
For the first time, raw sugar, rice and cooking oil will be processed inside of Qatar, transport minister Jassim bin Saif Al-Sulaiti said yesterday, according to Bloomberg.
Previously, many of these commodities were only packaged locally.
Qatar-based company Al Jaber Engineering has been awarded a contract to design and build the facility, which has been in the works since last year.
But the project has taken on added significance since Qatar’s neighbors began a boycott against the country last month.
Qatar has been able to find other countries through which to import food, including Turkey and Iran.
Still, the blockade has been dubbed a “wakeup call” because the nation is so heavily reliant on imports.
In statement, Minister of Transport and Communications Al Sulaiti said:
“The State of Qatar views food security as an integral part of its national security.”
When completed in 2019, the 530,000 square meter facility should be able to hold enough food to meet two years worth of demand for three million people.
Animal feed will also be produced onsite through “recycling of waste products,” the transport ministry said.
Additionally, some of the products will be exported.
The facilities will operate in their own terminal, but 500m of Hamad Port’s wharf will be used to berth and discharge ships involved in the new project.
Qatar has already brought on several global food processing and storage companies ahead of the project’s launch.
They include Swiss-German Bühler; German BIA; and Italy’s C.M Bernardini.
However, officials have not yet said which countries they will source rice, sugar and other raw materials from.