Qatar plans food clus­ter for sugar, rice sup­plies at home

Muscat Daily - - BUSINESS -

Doha, Qatar - Qatar will spend US$431mn to build a food-pro­cess­ing and stor­age fa­cil­ity near Ha­mad Port in about two years that will more than meet lo­cal de­mand for sugar, rice and cook­ing oil.

Doha-based Al Jaber En­gi­neer­ing won the con­tract and has 26 months to de­sign and build the project for the na­tion’s food se­cu­rity, Qatar’s Min­is­ter of Trans­port and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Jas­sim bin Saif al Su­laiti told re­porters in Doha on Sun­day. Qatar in­vited com­pa­nies to bid on the project last year, be­fore the Saudi-led trade boy­cott against Qatar that be­gan in June.

Food se­cu­rity is im­por­tant in the Mid­dle East be­cause lack of rain and ex­ces­sive heat make it dif­fi­cult to grow grains and de­velop live­stock farms. Qatar is in a tougher po­si­tion be­cause it de- pended on food com­ing across the bor­der with Saudi Ara­bia, which cut diplo­matic and trade links with its neigh­bour last month. Some 38 per cent of Qatar’s food used to come through Saudi Ara­bia, ac­cord­ing to Mazen al Su­dairi, head of re­search at Al Ra­jhi Cap­i­tal.

“This is the first time that these com­modi­ties will be pro­cessed in Qatar,” Su­laiti said. It will start look­ing for a manag­ing agent for the project next year, he said.

The project will have weekly ca­pac­ity to pro­duce 300,000kg of raw sugar, 600,000kg of rice and 200,000kg of cook­ing oils, said Maisar Jamil el Qu­tami, project ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor at New Port Project, the gov­ern­ment body de­vel­op­ing the fa­cil­ity near Ha­mad Port, about 30km south of Doha. Stor­age fa­cil­i­ties will hold enough of the foods to meet de­mand for over two years. Some pro­duc­tion will be used in an­i­mal feed, and about 30 per cent of the out­put may be ex­ported, he said.

Other com­pa­nies in­volved in the project are Switzer­land’s Buh­ler AG, Ger­man BIA and Italy’s C M Bernar­dini, which spe­cialises in equip­ment for the oil and fats in­dus­try, ac­cord­ing to Qatar Trans­port Min­istry.

Qatar’s Min­is­ter of Trans­port and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Jas­sim bin Saif al Su­laiti

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