The Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) has adopted a new agriculture research strategy to increase both livestock and agriculture production with the ultimate target of boosting food security and self-sufficiency in Qatar.
Local Arabic daily Arrayah reported yesterday that the Agriculture Research Department director Massoud Jarallah al-Marri stressed that the MME is working on a number of research plans and projects to treat the challenges and difficulties facing the development of the agriculture sector in the country, in particular the scarce water resources, limited arable land and the small-size of livestock production.
These projects include the preservation of the genetic resources, boosting animal fodder production with focus on various alternatives, tissue culture, and bio-resistance of plants. One of the major projects is the animal production station at Al Sheehaniyah, which was received by the department last year. The facility, spread across an area of 80,000sq m, aims at improving the excellent breeds of goats and camels through the use of sophisticated technology.
The station also makes research on improving the qualities of particular categories of animal fodder. Another project is currently implemented jointly with the Qatar Shell Research and Technology Centre to study the use of saline soil and saline water in producing agriculture crops and reducing the deterioration of land quality. The project aims at boosting the land reclamation efforts and soil maintenance. The main crops targeted in this project are animal fodder.
In addition, the department is working on a project to develop and devise a number of sophisticated irrigation systems aimed at reducing the use of irrigation water. The preliminary results of the related experiments showed the consumption of irrigation water could be reduced by 68% compared to the conventional methods, the daily added.