MoU signed with the Ministry of Municipality and Environment on Food Security and Sustainability

The Ministry of Municipality and Environment & Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen cooperation between both entities and facilitate the development of a business cluster in Qatar Free Zones dedicated to advanced agriculture technology and the food industry. This step comes in line with Qatar’s strategy to achieve food security, promote economic diversification and empower the private sector.

The signing ceremony was attended by His Excellency Dr. Abdulla bin Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Subaie Minister of Municipality and Environment and Acting Minister of State for the Council of Ministers Affairs, His Excellency Mr. Ahmad bin Mohammed Al-Sayed, Minister of State and Chairman of the Board of Directors of QFZA, and several senior officials from the Ministry and QFZA.

The agreement was signed by Sheikh Dr. Faleh bin Nasser Al-Thani, Assistant Undersecretary for Agriculture and Fisheries Affairs at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, and Mr. Abdulla Al-Misnad, Deputy CEO at QFZA. The signing was followed by an introductory tour of Ras Bufontas Free Zone and the Business & Innovation Park to showcase the advanced infrastructure and services offered to investors in the Free Zones.

The MoU will help attract investment by facilitating investor delegation visits organized by the Ministry and QFZA. It will also support with hosting various events, including discussions focused on the investment sectors, bilateral meetings between companies, high-level economic and trade forums, and other economic and commercial activities that will be held locally or internationally. Furthermore, it will help with providing training opportunities and co-hosting training programs, as well as enable the exchange of knowledge about international exhibitions and communication with investors.

His Excellency Dr. Abdulla bin Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Subaie Minister of Municipality and Environment and Acting Minister of State for the Council of Ministers Affairs touched upon the four-pronged National Food Security Strategy, aimed at strengthening the food system in the State of Qatar. The Strategy is based first on domestic production, which focuses on the production of perishable strategic goods that are difficult to store for long periods. The second focus will depend on the strategic storage of grain and oil commodities that can be stored for long periods such as wheat, rice, sugar, and edible oils. The third is the domestic market, which relies on the development of a system of transport, marketing, storage, and handling of foodstuff to ensure its quality, safety, and fair price for both producers and consumers. The fourth and final focus is international trade and logistics services, which depend on the diversification and security of food import sources and the provision of the necessary logistics services. Thus, it is important to have such cooperation between Qatar Free Zones Authority and the Ministry of Municipality and Environment with a view to integrating efforts to achieve the National Food Security Strategy and create investment opportunities that would benefit the national economy.

Finally, HE stressed the Ministry’s readiness to provide all the required facilities, under the umbrella of the Memorandum of Understanding, to ensure the integration of all strategies aimed at achieving Qatar’s Vision 2030.

H.E. Ahmad Al-Sayed, Minister of State and Chairman of QFZA, said: “This partnership marks a major milestone in our journey to localize advanced technology and innovation to achieve Qatar’s self-sufficiency and sustainable development goals, which is especially important now as we continue to face the challenges posed by climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. The strategic location of the free zones, the logistics opportunities they offer to global and local companies, and the independent food storage facilities in Hamad Port support these goals by contributing to enhancing the capabilities of our zones, and enabling investors and companies from various sectors —including the food and agritech sector—to access the Gulf and regional market. We aim to contribute to providing an integrated work environment to build an advanced business cluster for agritech and the food industry to support building a contemporary economy that cements Qatar’s position as an attractive destination for investments and a hub for innovation and talent across all sectors.”

His Excellency, Minister of State and Chairman of QFZA emphasized the pivotal role that the Free Zones play in localizing supply chains, embracing innovation in various sectors, and offering second-to-none competitive advantages; including proximity to the airport and sea port, providing an optimal environment for businesses to grow, and continuously developing world-class technological and logistical infrastructure.

Qatar Free Zones are designed to be an essential driver of innovation, sustainability and growth in key sectors supporting our value chains. Agriculture technology is booming in Qatar, growing at a rate of more than 6% annually. Qatar has demonstrated great economic flexibility and high efficiency in recent years, having achieved self-sufficiency in many food sectors. This has enhanced local production and created investments in many new areas, including vertical farming and advanced irrigation systems. QFZA recently partnered with Eat Just to establish the first regional center for sustainable food production in the Umm Alhoul Free Zone, with the aim of supporting the development of a sustainable global food system.

The Council of Ministers has recently approved the National Climate Change Plan, which considers economic diversification an important component that contributes to combating climate change. This plan is an essential element to achieving Qatar National Vision 2030 and is in line with the United Nations sustainable development goals.