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A delegation of eight people from Qatar visited Bay of Plenty Polytechnic earlier this week as part of a nine day visit by the Qatar National Food Security Programme (QNFSP). The visit, seen as a scoping mission by policy-makers, may provide future investment opportunities with Qatar’s agencies and companies, centred around New Zealand’s Intellectual Property and expertise in areas such as aquaculture.
QNFSP’s mission is to develop a comprehensive and sustainable long term solution to the challenges that the State of Qatar faces with regards to its food security. Qatar has a large deficit of food supply imports so the QNFSP will be seeking to find solutions to increase and enhance domestic production while preserving its natural resources and traditions.
Aquaculture especially is an area the QNFSP are keen to investigate because of Qatar’s large estuaries which lend themselves to this area of development. While some mainly experimental activity is already in place they are keen to grow aquaculture as a profitable venture and are looking at research and development in this area. With this in mind, the delegation spent about two hours at the Polytechnic taking a tour of its aquaculture facility, seeing presentations on the marine programmes on offer as well as the National and Regional Aquaculture Strategies.
Dr Tim Lowe, Head of School Applied Science, was delighted to host the party which included His Excellency Sheikh Hamad bin Ali bin Jassim al Thani (Vice-Chair of QNFSP and a member of the Qatari Royal Family), Yousuf Khalid Al Khulafi (Qatari Director of Agricultural Affairs) and Mohamed Saed Al Mohannadi (Qatari Director of Fisheries).
“The delegation was very interested and impressed in way that aquaculture is developing in New Zealand,” said Dr Lowe. “They have long term plans for a major aquaculture industry in Qatar and we hope that we can support them in their endeavour.”
The group have also spent time in Queenstown, Wellington, Hamilton and Auckland and will return to Qatar on Thursday, 10 May.