Qatar is a small middle eastern country with no water. Fahad Al-Attiya must maintain food security for Qatar, but food doesn’t grow without water.
Qatar has nearly 4500 square miles of land and nearly no fresh water on that land. Even with that lack of water, Qatar has gone from 11000 people living on a subsistence level in the 1940s to nearly 2 million people living in one of the richest nations on the planet. The per person use of water increased to about 100 gallons per day, more than most nations, although the annual precipitation is less than three inches.
Fahad Al-Attiya is the Chairman of Qatar’s National Food Security Programme. Qatar imports 90% of its food. Al-Attiya hopes to change that with innovations in sustainable agriculture, desalination of seawater, and renewable energy systems. The goal is to produce 70% of Qatar’s food within the next decade and remove Qatar’s dependence on overseas markets, which can have a great deal of volatility.
In the video below, Al-Attiya discusses the challenges of developing food security in a country with no water.
Sand dunes in Qatar photo via Shutterstock