(MENAFN - The Peninsula) By Sanaullah Ataullah / The Peninsula
To boost local agricultural produce, more than 500 greenhouses with a total area of 280,000sqm have been added to the existing capacity of local farms in past five months, said an official.
The new facilities will not only help increase the local produce of vegetables that assumed great importance after blockade but will also keep giving yield round the year.
'Since the beginning of the siege till now, local farmers established more than 500 greenhouses air-conditioned and shaded at an area measuring about 280,000 sqm, said Yusuf Khalid Al Khulaifi, Director of Agricultural Affairs Department at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment.
Speaking in a talk show 'Taraheeb of Al Rayan TV, Al Khulaifi said that the local farms built new greenhouses taking their responsibility to increase the production in a bid to meet the growing demand of vegetables in the local market.
'Now we have to play our role as citizens and expatriates to buy their products to encourage the production, said Al Khulaifi.
Speaking on state support to local farmers in setting up greenhouses, Al Khulaifi said that there are many companies which offer services for setting up greenhouses and consultancy and Agricultural Affairs Department also provide guides and share experiences with farmers. 'And Qatar Development Bank (QDB) finances all agricultural projects, he added.
The agricultural produce increased significantly year-on-year. In 2012 when seasonal winter vegetable markets were launched only 24 farmers participated and 800 tonnes of vegetables were sold.
Last year by the end of season, a total of 5,600 tonnes vegetables were sold at three markets, said Al Khulaifi. This year 83 farmers are participating, eight farmers more than previous year. During first week of this season, around 100 tonnes of vegetables were sold.
Now three winter vegetable markets are working three day a week (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) from 7am to 5pm at Al Mazrouah, Al Khor-Al Zakhira and Al Wakra. Three new markets will be opened in Al Shahaniya, Muaither and Al Ruwais by the beginning of January next year to provide farm fresh vegetables to the consumers at their respective localities.
Speaking on the existing production of vegetables at local farms, Al Khulaifi said: 'We are in the beginning of the season, all types of vegetables from greenhouse and farms will be available from December to May. He said that almost all types of vegetables are being produced in Qatar.
Regarding the prices of local produce of vegetables at winter markets, Al Khulaifi said that the farmers are following the daily price list issued by the Consumer Protection Department (CPD) based on supply and demand. 'The winter markets offer farm-fresh good quality vegetables on reasonable prices, said Al Khulaifi.
With an increase in local production of vegetables, the local farms started supplying premium quality products to the shopping complexes.
Separate shelves have been set up at Carrefour Hypermarket at City Center Complex to showcase local vegetables of premium quality, the Ministry said in a statement yesterday. According to the statement, the premium products of local vegetables are already made available at various branches of Al Meera.
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