Research Complex To Boost Farm Sector
01 Apr 2018
By Sanaullah Ataullah / The Peninsula
DOHA: The Ministry of Municipality and Environment has completed the design of a project to build a huge complex for agricultural research and guidance at Al Mazrouha, Umm Salal which will develop agricultural techniques helpful in increasing country’s local production to meet self-sufficiency goals.
The complex, spreading over an area of 270,000sqm, will have research facilities to increase the agricultural products, develop advanced techniques for aquaponic farming to produce freshwater fish and organic vegetables and new models of protected farms, said Massoud Jarallah Al-Marri, Head of the Agricultural Research Department at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment.
He said that the main beneficiary of this project will be small farmers who do not have access to latest technologies and instruments. “The tender for the project will be floated in the beginning of next year to begin the construction of the project,” Al-Marri told The Peninsula on the sidelines of a recent event.
He said that phase one project which will include main building, laboratories, and service facilities is expected to be commissioned by the end of 2021.
The complex will have a number of research facilities to develop new agricultural techniques for local farmers, he said, “Under the project, a separate building will be built for laboratories which will be equipped with research tools of international standards”.
Al-Marri said that a laboratory would be dedicated to conducting research to increase the agricultural products through vertical farming. He said that the complex would conduct advanced research on the development of aquaponic farming techniques that would enable farming of fish and plants together in one integrated system for local farmers.
Aquaponic farming is a combination of aquaculture for fish farming and hydroponics that is soil-less farming of plants. The fish waste provides an organic food source for the plants, and the plants naturally filter the water for the fish.
Aquaponics helps reduce water consumption for fish farming and instead of discharging water, aquaponics uses the plants, naturally occurring bacteria in which they grow in to clean and purify the water, after which it is returned to the fish tank, said Al Marri. He said that the new techniques will be used to farm fresh water fish that are not available in Qatar due to lack of rivers.
“The increasing use of this technique will contribute to produce organics vegetables by using organic fertilizers and producing river fish to reduce the dependency of the country on import,” he added.
“The new complex will have a separate poultry farm section which will develop a model of poultry farm for small breeding farms which would be the prime target of the research centers,” said Al Marri.
He said that the section will offer best species of chicks for breeding, poultry feed and compositions to the targeted farmers and provide necessary guidance to increase their production.
“The research complex and agricultural guidance center will encourage small investors to join the agricultural business by providing them with advanced agricultural techniques that suit Qatari environment,” said Al Marri.
He said that the complex would also have a laboratory to develop the techniques of protected farms and greenhouses for small farmers.
The complex, Al Marri, said would be an integrated facility of Animal Research Center at Al Shahaniya to research develop best species of sheep, goat, cow and camels for breeding.