The Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) continues to work actively to provide all the means to enhance the value of local products and improve the marketing approaches of farmers, through a set of the Ministry?s programs and initiatives.
The Ministry launched a number of marketing initiatives for the benefit of the marketing farms, reported Mr. Adel al-Kaldi al-Yafei, Assistant director of the Agricultural Affairs Department at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME). Among these initiatives:
- Providing consumer-direct sale outlets as niche markets for Qatari agricultural products. There are (5) local agricultural product yards all over the state, operating since 2012; namely (Al Mazroa, Al Wakrah, Al Khor and Al Thakhira, Al Shamal and Al Sheehaniya). The aim of these yards is to provide an opportunity to farmers to sell their products directly to the consumer, without any intermediary or commission. This has served to improve the marketing approach, and reduce the vegetable waste and improve product quality and sale prices of farmer products. This season, nearly 159 farms benefited from this initiative. Since the beginning of this season, starting from the end of October 2020, and ending on February 2021, vegetable sales amounted to 8000 tons, with nearly 34% increase compared to the same period of the last season.
- Outstanding Product’ was launched in 2017 and in 2018 ‘Qatar Farms’ was introduced by MME in cooperation of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, with the aim of linking farm owners to large sale outlets in the state. About 150 farms participated in the two programmes, marketing nearly 7,000 tons in all consumer cooperatives, contributing to a better-distributed supply among the different sale outlets, higher value of the displayed products and better sale prices.
- Application of the ‘Daman’, the programme for pre-contracts with farmers, in coordination with Mahaseel, to guarantee that all contracting farmers get reasonable prices for their produce supplied to the Company under this programme. Farms registered with ?Daman? amounted to 70 farms this season, and the total quantity supplied as of December 2020 until February 2021 is nearly 2359 tons of vegetables, accounting for QAR 11.8 million, with about QAR 5 / Kg, average purchase price, which is a very reasonable price in this season. Farmers used less than 40% of their shares under this programme.
- The Daily Supply Programme was rolled out by MME, in cooperation with Mahaseel. Through this programme, owners of supplying farms are given prices that provide them a profit margin higher than auction prices in the central market. Under this programme, 10-15% profit margin is added to the auction price for the top vegetables. Additionally, minimum prices are set for the main foodstuffs when auction prices fall behind the minimum prices (e.g. the minimum price for Grade-A tomatoes is QAR 2.1). This price was fixed for Mahaseel even with the occasional drop in tomato price in the daily consumer index issued by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to a lower (QAR 2 / Kg of tomatoes). It is worth mentioning that all quantities supplied by farmers, in conformity with applicable standards, were bought without any returns, for prices higher than the market price. Moreover, as part of the enhancement of the value of local vegetable produce, Mahaseel stooped that supply of its products to the central market, in order to maintain reasonable prices.
Adel al-Kaldi al-Yafei, further indicated that as part of the activation of the Agricultural Calendar, MME disseminated guidance to farm owners, over the last period, instructing them to organize production, as it was observed that farmers focused on the intensive production of tomatoes and cucumbers during the months of the season, with no regard to diversification of their produce and prolongation of the season to make remunerative returns. Furthermore, the Agricultural Affairs Department, in cooperation with the Food Safety and Environment Health Department of the Ministry of Public Health control the quality of imported vegetables as is the case with local vegetables, through the application of the approved relevant GSO Standards, in order to fulfill the needs and aspirations of consumers.