The World Food Summit of 1996 declared that “Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”
Statistics estimate that the world population will reach 8 billion in 2024. Therefore, the provision of sufficient food for every person on the planet will indeed be a huge challenge for which governments and policy makers are struggling to find a solution.
In Qatar, this issue resonates even more because Qatar has an open economy and its soil is mostly arid desert, where fewer plants grow. Qatar is also a home for many expats and foreign workers. Consequently, it imports about 90 percent of its food needs. This means that food security is of paramount importance. Given the geo-political tensions in the volatile Middle East, there could be a real risk if Qatar not being able to have access to these foreign imports. Therefore, Qatar Pavilion has chosen as its theme “Seeding Sustainability. Innovative Solutions for Food Security”.
Qatar realizes the importance of food security and has put together the Qatar National Food Security Plan (QNFSP), a comprehensive initiative to ensure sustainable and secure food for the future. In the World Food Security Conference held in Doha, Qatar submitted a paper outlining the key strategies to increase the productivity of the farming acreage in Qatar, while at the same time working with other countries to purchase what it cannot produce.
Guided by the all-encompassing Qatar National Vision 2030, Qatar is parlaying its petro dollars into new and lasting ventures that will sustain it in the future.
Qatar’s academic institutions and laboratories realized the importance investment in scientific research and development and innovation as a strategic tool that will bring forth more effective farming methods, better yielding seedlings and hybrids with greater resistance to pests and diseases.
Qatar takes its role as the vanguard of the Global Dryland Alliance seriously. By funding research into improving farming methods in arid lands, Qatar hopes that it can share its findings with countries experiencing a similar climate. Some experts believe that 40 percent of the earth’s land area comprises arid lands with this percentage expected to grow with global warming and the desertification it brings in its wake.