Qatar is planning a food city and wants to expand its domestic agricultural sector with the help of solar based desalination. To this end 1,400 new farms are planned. This goes hand in hand with its intention to produce 70 percent of its food by 2023.
The story of barley subsides in the kingdom is a crazy one. It encourages a large industry of sheep fattening in the country. Saudi Arabia is the largest barley importer world wide and represents about 40 percent of the global barley trade. Th livestock industry is a powerful lobby group. When barley subsidies where not enough to guarantee a profit while remaining below a government set ceiling price the Saudi king ordered a 50 percent increase in the barley subsidy after much political wrangling.
Organic farming in greenhouses is on the rise. In the UAE it reached 2,196 acres in 2010 compared to 110 acres in 2007.Abu Dhabi also aims to reduce the input of chemicals and pesticides in agriculture by a quarter by 2013.
Gulf countries are food secure. If at all they have a problem with too many calories: Their per capita ratio of obesity and diabetes is belong to the highest in the world.