A limestone-plateau of 11,400 sq. km, Qatar continues to import approximately 90% of its food. By establishing a position of foreign dependence, Qatar's food security is at risk due to fluctuating prices (as experienced in 2008) and potential disruptions in supply. The total arable land in the GCC is in the order of 1.7%, resulting in an industry that only accounts for 1–4% of total revenue (0.1% in Qatar). As such, Qatar is only 23% self-sufficient in vegetables, 0.76% in cereal, 23.1% in fruits and 12.5 % in livestock.

At present production outputs, Qatar's self-sufficiency will be further reduced as demand increases. For instance, Qatar's population increased linearly at 14.3 % per year from 2003 (0.71 million) to 2009 (1.6 million) and is expected to reach 3.2 million by 2020 and 4.9 million by 2030 Moreover, inevitable domestic vulnerabilities could hinder the productivity of the domestic system. For instance, temperatures in the Gulf are forecasted to increase by 1.8°C by 2040 leading to desertification, whilst increasing water scarcity in a region already heavily water stressed. It is estimated that 73% of aquifers in the GCC have depleted, whilst locally, aquifers are used 9 times faster than their replenishing rate.

The development of a domestic food system, agro-investment and continued activity in the global market should be considered as critical constituents in any final food security strategy. Sustainable local production presents the core of the Qatar National Food Security Program, which is centred on solar-desalination as a means for water supply. Agro-investment is essential because it allows the importer to benefit from virtual water through the import of water intensive crops. Finally, enhancing purchasing power and diversifying suppliers allows the importer to establish a stronger position in the global market. The proposed food program faces the tough challenge of achieving food security whilst preserving the natural environment. As such, this paper will discuss the dynamic relationship between the food system and its environment, explore its resilience and ultimately put forward a series of recommendations which are aimed at enhancing Qatar's food security whilst considering its environment.


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