Rising food prices two years ago led Qatar’s leaders to realise how vulnerable they are to food shortages.
Since then, along with Saudi Arabia Abu Dhabi, the gulf state has been buying land in other countries that it could use to grow its own food.
Now the country’s National Food Security Programme is looking at ways to grow more food in Qatar, more than doubling the amount of land under cultivation and using desalinated water (from solar powered plants) to irrigate them. They are also thinking about building ‘skyscraper farms’, which would use soil-less agriculture (hydroponics).
At present the country produces about 10% of its own food. The aim is to be self-sufficient in food by 2023, with implementation of the ambitious new projects starting in 2013.
By contrast, we produce about 40% of our own food, but are doing nothing to increase that proportion.