Growing food pyramids in the sand: how sustainable are Qatar’s self-sufficiency and foreign agro-investment policies?

Semsia Al-Ali Mustafa


Achieving food security in the Arabian Gulf is no easy task. Fuelled by petrodollars, the countries largely rely on imports to feed their burgeoning population, making them susceptible to price and supply shocks. This paper begins by examining why food security is so important to the Gulf, narrowing the focus down to Qatar. Its almost absolute dependence on food imports and water desalination make it a distinct and appropriate case study. The two most important strategies through which Qatar plans to achieve its food security- domestic production and foreign agro-investments will be assessed and weighed against their financial, political and environmental costs. Lastly, broader implications including the need to address rampant food waste and poor nutrition will be discussed, issues that are currently side-lined but without which no true sustainable food security can be achieved.

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