Qatar turns to new food imports as Gulf crisis bites

Qatar turns to new food imports as Gulf crisis bites
A general view of the Doha port container terminal in Doha, Qatar. Reuters/File Photo
4 years ago

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SULAIMANI – Qatar's food producers are turning to new importers to fill a gap left by an ongoing diplomatic spat with its Gulf neighbors, with Iran committing on Sunday (June 11) to ramp up its exports to the country.

At a Qatar meat processing plant in Doha's sprawling industrial zone, workers have been put onto extra shifts to try to double the company's output of chicken, beef and lamb to 40 tons per day.

“We have already started doubling the production when the situation last week has arisen. So we have put two shifts instead of one shift to increase the production and also we stopped exporting,” said Chairman of International Projects Development Co., Ahmed al-Khalaf.

The Saudi-led isolation of Qatar, the Gulf's worst diplomatic spat for years, has choked food imports from Riyadh and the UAE to the tiny emirate, forcing Doha to turn not only to other foreign exporters, but also to local businesses to fill the gap and keep supermarket shelves full. Qatar was previously importing 80 percent of its food requirements from bigger Gulf Arab neighbors.

Iran has sent four cargo planes of food to Qatar and plans to provide 100 tons of fruit and vegetable every day, Iranian officials said on Sunday, amid concerns of shortages after Qatar's biggest suppliers severed ties with the import-dependent country.