Growing food pyramids in the sand: how sustainable are Qatar’s self-sufficiency and foreign agro-investment policies?
AbstractAchieving food security in the Arabian Gulf is no easy task. Fuelled by petrodollars, the countries largely rely on imports to feed their burgeoning population, making them susceptible to price and supply shocks. This paper begins by examining why food security is so important to the Gulf, narrowing the focus down to Qatar. Its almost absolute dependence on food imports and water desalination make it a distinct and appropriate case study. The two most important strategies through which Qatar plans to achieve its food security- domestic production and foreign agro-investments will be assessed and weighed against their financial, political and environmental costs. Lastly, broader implications including the need to address rampant food waste and poor nutrition will be discussed, issues that are currently side-lined but without which no true sustainable food security can be achieved.
Abrahams L., 2013, January. Qatar National Food Security Programme: Initiating a Model for Arid States (Publication No. 90). Retrieved March 15, 2016, from International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) website: http://ciheam.org/images/CIHEAM/PDFs/Observatoire/NAL/nal90.pdf
Adema S., 2016, March 09. Food Waste Woes in Qatar. Retrieved July 16, 2016, from http://www.ecomena.org/food-waste-in-qatar/
Al Malki A., 2008. "Business Opportunities in Water Industry in Qatar." Singapore International Water Week. KAHRAMAA, 2008. Retrieved March 10, 2016 from
Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD)., 2011. Arab Agricultural Statistics Yearbook (Vol. 31, Rep.). Khartoum: AOAD.
Babar Z., and Mirgani S. (Eds.)., 2014. Food security in the Middle East. New York: Oxford University Press.
Bailey R., and Willoughby R., 2013, November. Edible Oil: Food Security in the Gulf (Issue brief No. EER BP 2013/03). Retrieved April 09, 2016, from Chatham House website: https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/files/chathamhouse/public/Research/Energy, Environment and Development/bp1113edibleoil.pdf
Baker A., 2012, November 19. Desert Dreams: Can the Middle Eastern Country of Qatar Learn to Feed Itself? | TIME.com. Retrieved April 05, 2016, from http://science.time.com/2012/11/19/desert-dreams-can-the-middle-eastern-country-of-qatar-learn-to-feed-itself/
Bakr A., 2009, August 11. Qatar's Hassad Food has appetite for firms, not farmland. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.arabianbusiness.com/qatar-s-hassad-food-has-appetite-for-firms-not-farmland-14908.html#.VwE1txMrIUu
Beer E., 2014, October 17. Hassad Food agrees $500m Turkey investment. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.foodnavigator.com/Regions/Middle-East/Hassad-Food-agrees-500m-Turkey-investment
BP Statistical Review of World Energy (Rep.)., 2015, June. Retrieved April 03, 2016, from British Petroleum website: http://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/pdf/energy-economics/statistical-review-2015/bp-statistical-review-of-world-energy-2015-full-report.pdf
Brans E. H., 2001. Liability for damage to public natural resources: Standing, damage, and damage assessment. The Hague: Kluwer Law International.
Breisinger C., Ecker O., Al Riffai P., 2011. “Economics of Arab Awakening: From Revolutions to Transformation and Food Security” IFPRI Policy Brief 18, May 2011 (Washington DC: International Food Policy Research Institute)
Burwood-Taylor L., 2015, September 09. Qatar Investment Authority's Hassad Food to Sell Hydroponic Greenhouse Technology to Growers - AgFunderNews. Retrieved April 06, 2016, from https://agfundernews.com/qatar-investment-authoritys-hassad-food-to-sell-hydroponic-greenhouse-technology-to-growers.html
Caramel L., 2013, January 08. Qatar builds farms in the desert. Retrieved April 06, 2016, from http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/jan/08/qatar-building-farms-desert-water
Committee to implement food security plan., (2014). Retrieved April 01, 2016, from http://www.gulf-times.com/story/387727/Committee-to-implement-food-security-plan
Darwish M., Abdulrahim H., Mabrouk A., Hassan A., and Shomar B., 2014. Reclaimed wastewater for agriculture irrigation in Qatar. Global Journal of Agricultural Research and Reviews, 3(1), 106-120. Retrieved March 03, 2016, from http://globalscienceresearchjournals.org/full-articles/reclaimed-wastewater-for-agriculture-irrigation-in-qatar.pdf?view=inline
El Dahan M., 2015, February 25. Qatar's Hassad Food eyes Brazilian sugar, poultry assets. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.reuters.com/article/qatar-food-hassad-idUSL5N0VZ0JG20150225
El Emadi K., Abdel Kerim G., and El Emadi H., 2014, October 20. Public Works Authority Apply Sustainable Developments Concept with Sewerage Works, Qatar. Lecture. Retrieved March 20, 2016, from http://wstagcc.org/en/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/05/S6_L7_public-works-authority_Elemadi.pdf
Elobeid T., and Hassan A., 2014. The Nutrition Transition and Obesity In Qatar. Food Security in the Middle East, 271-286. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199361786.003.0011
England C., 2014, June 17. Qatari Government buys up 14,000 hectares of prime South Australian farmland. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.farmlandgrab.org/post/view/23624-qatari-government-buys-up-14-000-hectares-of-prime-south-australian-farmland
Fahmy H., 2015, June 22. Three central markets to open in Qatar by the second half of 2016 - Doha News. Retrieved April 1, 2016, from http://dohanews.co/three-central-markets-to-open-in-qatar-by-the-second-half-of-2016/
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)., 2016, March 21. Saudi Arabia. Retrieved April 04, 2016, from http://www.fao.org/giews/countrybrief/country.jsp?code=SAU
GCC Food Industry (Rep.), 2015, April 28. Retrieved April 02, 2016, from Alpen Capital website: http://www.alpencapital.com/downloads/GCC_Food_Industry_Report_April_2015.pdf
GRAIN, 2012, June. Squeezing Africa Dry: Behind every land grab is a water grab (Rep.). Retrieved April 09, 2016, from GRAIN website: file:///Users/semsiamustafa/Desktop/grain-4516-squeezing-africa-dry-behind-every-land-grab-is-a-water-grab.pdf
Global Hunger Index, 2015. Retrieved April 01, 2016, from http://ghi.ifpri.org/results/
Harrigan J., 2014. The political economy of Arab food sovereignty. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Hassad Food, 2015, February 09. Hassad Food of Qatar Acquires an Equity Interest in A'Saffa Foods, Oman. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.hassad.com/English/MediaCenter/NewsCenter/Pages/Hassad-Acquires-an-Equity-Interest-in-ASaffa-Foods-Oman.aspx
Index Mundi, 2014. Diabetes prevalence (% of population ages 20 to 79) - Country Ranking. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from http://www.indexmundi.com/facts/indicators/SH.STA.DIAB.ZS/rankings
Ismail H., 2015, July 21. Food and Water Security in Qatar: Part 1 – Food Production (Working paper). Retrieved March 28, 2016, from Future Directions International website: http://www.futuredirections.org.au/publication/food-and-water-security-in-qatar-part-1-food-production/
Kahramaa, 2015. Water Security Mega Reservoirs Project. Retrieved April 02, 2016, from http://www.watermegareservoirs.qa/
Madi A. A., 2015. Early Diagnosis of Iron Deficiency in School Children: A Qatari Experience. Journal of Hematology & Thromboembolic Diseases, 03(02). doi:10.4172/2329-8790.1000195
Malviya S., 2014, December 09. Qatar's Hassad Food files FIR against Delhi's Bush Foods. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-12-09/news/56879965_1_virkaran-awasty-himalayan-crown-bush-foods
Mansfeld Y., and Winckler O., 2007. The tourism industry as an alternative for the GCC oil-based rentier economies. Tourism Economics, 13(3), 333-360. doi:10.5367/000000007781497728
WWF, 2014. Living Planet Report 2014: Species and spaces, people and places (Rep.). Retrieved April 10, 2016, from WWF website: http://assets.wwf.org.uk/downloads/living_planet_report_2014.pdf?_ga=1.150581110.130934713.1412094316
Mitra S., 2013, April 03. Qatar's Hassad Food buys 51% in Bush Foods Overseas for Rs 544.45 cr. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/qatar-s-hassad-food-buys-51-in-bush-foods-overseas-for-rs-544-45-cr-113040300419_1.html
Mohtar R. H., and Daher B., 2014, December. A Platform for Trade-off Analysis and Resource Allocation The Water-Energy-Food Nexus Tool and its Application to Qatar’s Food Security (Rep.). Retrieved April 04, 2016, from Chatham House website: https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/files/chathamhouse/field/field_document/20141216WaterEnergyFoodNexusQatarMohtarDaher.pdf
Munif A., 1989. Cities of salt. New York: Vintage Books.
Oxford Business Group. (2012). The Report: Qatar 2012 (Rep.). London: Oxford Business Group.
Qatar Water Report (Tech.), 2009. Retrieved April 02, 2016, from AQUASTAT- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) website: http://www.fao.org/nr/water/aquastat/countries_regions/qat/index.stm
Robertson J., 2014, December 05. Counting the cost of food security for the world's richest nations. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-30338558
Saadi D., 2016, March 22. Fiscal deficit of Gulf economies to widen on low oil prices The National. Retrieved April 21, 2016, from http://www.thenational.ae/business/economy/fiscal-deficit-of-gulf-economies-to-widen-on-low-oil-prices
Saif O., 2012. The Future Outlook of Desalination in the Gulf: Challenges & opportunities faced by Qatar & the UAE (Unpublished master's thesis). McMaster University. Retrieved March 04, 2016, from http://inweh.unu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/The-Future-Outlook-of-Desalination-in-the-Gulf.pdf
Saif O., Mezher T., and Arafat H. A., 2014. Water security in the GCC countries: Challenges and opportunities. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 4(4), 329-346. doi:10.1007/s13412-014-0178-8
Scott V., 2014. Advisor: Qatar's food security plans not being scaled back. Retrieved May 01, 2016, from http://dohanews.co/advisor-qatars-food-security-plans-not-being-scaled-back/
Sergie M. A., 2015, August 24. Qatar Banking on Farms With No Soil to Help Meet Demand for Food. Retrieved April 06, 2016, from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-08-24/qatar-banking-on-farms-with-no-soil-to-help-meet-demand-for-food
Seyfert K., Chaaban J., and Ghattas H., 2014. Food Security and the Supermarket Transition in the Middle East. Food Security in the Middle East, 185-220. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199361786.003.0008
Shadbolt P., 2013, December 18. Milking the desert: How mega-dairies thrive in Saudi sands. Retrieved April 2, 2016, from http://edition.cnn.com/2013/12/18/world/meast/milking-the-desert-saudi-dairy-farms/
Shah M., 2010, April 25. Gulf Cooperation Council food security: Balancing the equation. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.natureasia.com/en/nmiddleeast/article/10.1038/nmiddleeast.2010.141
Shoeb M., 2014, November 18. First Kahramaa solar power plant by 2016. Retrieved April 05, 2016, from http://thepeninsulaqatar.com/news/qatar/308323/first-kahramaa-solar-power-plant-by-2016
Smith L., 2013, December 09. Middle East company adds spice to Australian grain. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.farmlandgrab.org/post/view/22902-middle-east-company-adds-spice-to-australian-grain
Solder A. G., 2013. Food Ecologies in Qatar. Interdisciplinary approaches to sustainable systems: Food prints, food chains & food urbanisms. Qatar Foundation Annual Research Forum Proceedings, (2013). doi:10.5339/qfarf.2013.eep-059
Suresh S., 2014, February 01. Food Security Strategy in
Qatar. Retrieved April 11, 2016, from http://www.ecomena.org/food-security-qatar/
The Economist, 2012, March 17. Let them eat baklava. Retrieved April 03, 2016, from http://www.economist.com/node/21550328
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), 2015. Global food security index 2015 (Rep.). London: The Economist Intelligence Unit. Retrieved April 04, 2016, from http://foodsecurityindex.eiu.com/Resources
Qatar, Qatar National Food Security Programme (QNFSP),
Doha, 2013. The National Food Security Plan Overview. Doha.
Water Statistics In the State of Qatar 2013 (Rep.), 2016. Doha, Qatar: MDPS
Tétreault M. A., Wheeler D. L., and Shepherd B., 2014. Win-Win Versus Lose-Lose. Food Security in the Middle East, 221-248. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199361786.003.0009
Varghese J., 2015, November 10. Hassad Food aims to supply 15% of rice in local market. Retrieved April 07, 2016, from http://www.gulf-times.com/story/462343/Hassad-Food-aims-to-supply-15-of-rice-in-local-mar
Walker L., 2014, November 18. Kahramaa to open Qatar's first major solar power plant by 2016- Doha News. Retrieved April 05, 2016, from http://dohanews.co/first-kahramaa-solar-power-plant-launched-2016/
Walker L., 2015, August 25. Soil-free greenhouses to help Qatar grow up to 70% of its veg by 2023 - Doha News. Retrieved April 06, 2016, from http://dohanews.co/soil-free-greenhouses-to-help-qatar-grow-up-to-70-of-its-veg-by-2023/
Woertz E., 2013a. Oil for food: The global food crisis and the Middle East. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Woertz E., 2013b, January 14. Oil For Food: Big Business in The Middle East | The World Financial Review | Empowering communications globally. Retrieved April 04, 2016, from http://www.worldfinancialreview.com/?p=1043
Woertz E., 2013c. The Governance of Gulf Agro-Investments. Globalizations, 10(1), 87-104. doi:10.1080/14747731.2013.760932
World Atlas, (2015, November 2). 29 Most Obese Countries in The World. Retrieved April 10, 2016, from http://www.worldatlas.com/articles/29-most-obese-countries-in-the-world.html
World Atlas, 2016, March 4. The Richest Countries In The World. Retrieved April 14, 2016, from http://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-richest-countries-in-the-world.html
World Bank (WB), 2013. Agricultural land (% of land area). Retrieved April 11, 2016, from http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/AG.LND.AGRI.ZS/countries/1W-QA?display=default
World Resource Institute (WRI), 2015. Ranking the World's Most Water-Stressed Countries in 2040. Retrieved April 09, 2016, from http://www.wri.org/blog/2015/08/ranking-world’s-most-water-stressed-countries-2040