South Korea sees vertical farming as a promising area of cooperation with Qatar in relation to the country’s greenhouse farming projects to enhance food security, ambassador Heung Kyeong Park has said.
The South Korea ambassador said cooperation in vertical or indoor farming, among other sectors, is one of South Korea’s plans this year to strengthen bilateral relations with Qatar.
“Considering the Qatari government has been making every effort to achieve balanced developments through economic diversification policies, we would like to help Qatar pursue its goal of a ‘sustainable economy’ by expanding South Korea-Qatar bilateral cooperation from energy and infrastructure, construction to healthcare, smart farms, manufacturing, and so on,” Park told Gulf Times.
He also said the plans will include sending and receiving more trade missions from both countries.
The ambassador noted that the South Korean embassy has arranged 10 rounds of mutual visits among South Korean and Qatari small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) last year.
“We will invite around six South Korean trade missions to Qatar and arrange visits of many Qatari trade missions to South Korea for this year as well,” he pointed out.
Asked about South Korea-Qatar trade volume, Park said the amount decreased from $26.4bn to $17.1bn in 2016 “due to low oil prices.”
Asked to provide a forecast on South Korea-Qatar trade volume now that oil prices are hovering above $50 per barrel, Park said: “If oil and gas prices bounce back, the trade volume would increase accordingly.
“South Korea and Qatar have discussed on how to expand trade within the framework of the bilateral high-level strategic cooperation committee lead by our respective ministers of industry and energy.”
On initiatives the embassy plans to put in place this year to develop South Korea and Qatar SMEs, Park said that aside from arranging mutual visits of South Korean and Qatari SMEs, the embassy is eyeing agricultural cooperation, which, he said, “is essential for Qatar’s goal of a sustainable economy.
He added: “In relation to Qatar’s greenhouse farming projects to enhance food security, indoor farming or vertical farming requires advanced agricultural techniques and experience, LED lights and IT technologies, all of which I believe South Korea possesses.
“I visited a commercial indoor farm in Al Khor, which is producing mushroom, fruit, and vegetables all the year round. I think our bilateral cooperation could facilitate a sustainable agriculture, overcoming adverse weather conditions in Qatar.”