Starting tomorrow, Qatar residents will be able to buy homegrown tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, eggplant and other produce directly from the farmers who grow them, the Ministry of Environment has announced.
The produce, which is traditionally available at the Central Market, will no longer be sold at wholesale prices. It will thus cost more than imported fruits and vegetables, the Peninsula reports:
Local vegetables, being more green and fresh, are costlier than the imported ones, but not expensive enough to deter customers from buying them. Their freshness and better taste attract large number of retail customers from far off places.
“We have got bored of eating meat, fish and stale vegetables… I know fresh vegetables are a little expensive, but here in Qatar, we rarely get a chance to buy them. So this is a golden opportunity,” said Farooq Ahmed, an Indian expatriate who came to the central market all the way from Bin Mahmood.
Farmers can still sell their goods at the Central Market if they wish.
The move to support local farmers comes at a time when Qatar is embarking on an ambitious plan to shore up its food security. Currently, the country imports 90 percent of its food, and only 6 percent of its land is farmable.
When/where to go
The vendors will offer their wares three days a week at a new market near the Umm Salal Sports Club on Al Shamal Expressway, near the 22 farmhouses in Qatar that grow local vegetables.
The stalls will be open from 7am to 7pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays between the months of October and June. But during opening day tomorrow, Dec. 27, the market will open at 10am.
View Qatar’s Farmer’s Market in a larger map
The MOE has also said it is working to set up a similar market nearby selling fresh chicken, fish and red meat.
UPDATE | Dec 27: Here’s a map sent over by the Ministry of Environment:
Credit: Photo by Martin Belam