San Jose, CA – December 15th, 2020: The Embassy of the State of Qatar in Washington, D.C., the US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC), and the Silicon Valley Forum will host a virtual event on December 15th, entitled Qatar in Focus: Building Smart & Resilient Food Systems. The event provided US companies with an overview on how the State of Qatar is driving towards a sustainable and environmentally friendly food system, how agricultural technologies will play a role in achieving this vision, and what opportunities exist for US AgTech investors.
Speakers from the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Washington D.C., Qatar Development Bank (QDB), Hassad Food, Silicon Valley Forum, and USQBC will discuss the strength of the existing US-Qatar relationship in the AgTech sector and lay out the value proposition for US companies looking to invest.
According to Global Security Index, Qatar is ranked #1 in the MENA region and #13 globally for food security. To further enhance Qatar’s food security The Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) of the State of Qatar is currently developing 34 projects, with an additional 32 projects in the future.
“Qatar’s AgTech market is thriving at an annual growth rate of more than 6 percent annually. Prior to 2017, Qatar met 90% of its food needs through imports, but through the implementation of a well-coordinated strategy, the country has transformed into one of the most food-secure nations globally,” said Mr. Fahad Al-Dosari, Qatar’s Commercial Attaché to the US. “More work remains to be done, though, and technology will be critical to achieving our goals. This creates numerous opportunities for AgTech businesses. Qatar recognizes the strengths of AgTech companies in the United States – our most important global economic partner – and welcomes their partnership in fully realizing our ambitious vision for the sector.”
Qatar imported more than $23 billion worth of goods from the US over the last five years. Today, the total economic value of the partnership between the two countries exceeds $200 billion, and Qatar stands as one of the few countries in which the US runs a trade surplus.
“QDB is committed to the growth of Qatar’s food security and fostering the development of the agricultural sector,” said Mr. Khalid Abdulla Al-Mana, Executive Director of Business Finance. “We constantly work alongside partner institutions to further develop a business-friendly ecosystem for both international investors and SMEs alike to support Qatar’s ambition to become a fully food-secure nation.”
Through the course of Qatar’s food security strategy, Qatar aims to develop a larger domestic market for locally sourced food products. Driven by this strategy, QDB has led and supported many initiatives such as the “Made in Qatar” and “Buy Local Products” exhibitions. Since the onset of the 2017 blockade, Qatar has effectively become self-sufficient in the production of a wide range of essential food categories.
“It is our pleasure to be part of the virtual event on AgTech investment opportunities in Qatar, and we look forward to collaborating with US AgTech investors to find new prospects where we could support Qatar’s food security efforts,” said Mr. Mubarak Al Sahuti, Executive Director of Business Relations, Hassad Food.
Hassad, a fully-owned subsidiary of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), is a strategic commercial investment company that invests internationally and locally in the field of food and agribusiness sectors and is considered Qatar’s food investment arm. Over the years, Hassad invested in key strategic establishments such as Sunrise Food International, the world’s largest supplier of organic grains and oilseeds; Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) in Australia; and investments in poultry and fishery sectors in Oman. Moreover, Hassad owns various strategic local investments in Qatar which are operated by the company’s subsidiaries.
“Qatar’s rapid economic development coupled with an ambitious plan for food security as well as an extremely business-friendly environment has created plentiful opportunities for US AgTech investors,” said Mr. Nick Sramek, Director of International Relations at Silicon Valley Forum. “For those looking for access to new markets, this event will be critical in connecting U.S. AgTech companies with business opportunities in Qatar.”
Silicon Valley is one of the premiere tech-hubs globally and Qatar is developing a similar culture of innovation across many sectors. The government of Qatar has established various financial incentives for international companies to establish manufacturing and operations in Qatar including multiple free zones. Some of the most promising investment opportunities are in the deployment of advanced technologies in agriculture including crop production hydroponic greenhouses, vertical farming, and irrigation systems.
“Over the past few years, Qatar has made tremendous strides to ensure its food security,” said Mr. Mohammed Barakat, Managing Director of USQBC. “Through the raft of projects coming online now and the near future, we forecast many opportunities for US AgTech investors to not only help the country develop domestic production but also become a net food exporter as well.”
The US-Qatar Business Council is the premier entity to facilitate trade and investment between the two countries and hosts many events to build business relationships. USQBC looks forward to collaborating with interested AgTech investors as they establish themselves in Qatar.