Qatar develops tech for sustainable date production

Qatar has hosted a group of experts and representatives from GCC countries and the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) to review an ongoing project to develop a sustainable system for producing high quality dates in large quantity by adopting most advanced technologies and innovations.

The four-day event which began yesterday will focus on major challenges in the way of producing dates in the member countries such as shortage of water, smart irrigation system and reducing wastage of dates during production. 

The Agricultural Research Department at the Ministry of Municipality has organised the annual meetings on the project ‘Development of Sustainable Date Palm Production System in the GCC Countries of Arabian Peninsula’.

The event ‘Annual Technical Coordination and Steering Committee Meetings’ is being held in coordination with GCC Secretariat General and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).  

In his opening speech, Hamad Saket Al Shammari, Director of the Agricultural Research Department at the Ministry of Municipality, stressed on the importance of sharing expertise among members countries to overcome the difficulties faced by the agricultural sector to ensure food security.

“This annual meeting will focus on key issues, most notably the scarcity of water, how to ensure production in limited water, getting rid of palm weevil and reducing wastage of dates,” Al Shammari said.

Speaking to The Peninsula on the sidelines of the event, Al Shammari said: “The project is based on practical research, technology transfer and capacity building.”

Hamad Saket Al Shammari (center), Director of the Agricultural Research Department at the Ministry of Municipality, addressing the opening ceremony of the annual meetings of GCC and ICARDA.

He said that under the project a number of joint ventures among GCC countries have been launched which gave promising results.

Speaking about the contribution of Qatar to the project, Al Shammari, said: “Qatar has developed most advanced Polycarbonate Drying Houses for dates to reduce the wastages and efficient irrigation system like subsurface drip irrigation.”

To a question about the results of the project, he said that subsurface irrigation gave excellent result because it saves water and improves yields by eliminating surface water evaporation. 

“The project was experimented successfully at Rawdat Al Faras Farm run by the Agricultural Research Department.” 

He said that the Ministry of Municipality distributed about 100 Polycarbonate Drying Houses for dates to local farms in 2022. “We are focusing on all types of dates with commercial value and high demand in GCC countries such as Khinizi, Ikhlas, Barhi, Lulu and Shishi,” said Al Shammari. 

He said that some new types of dates also added to the research such as Majhol and Majdol. 

The annual meetings discuss and review research activities, capacity-building and technology transfer for the project.

This is to develop and discuss research and capacity building plans for the palm project for the year 2023, and to exchange experiences, information and ideas on future axes of cooperation between GCC and ICARDA in the field of research for agricultural development.

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