Qatar looks to Oregon

| Print |  Email
Articles - July 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011

By Peter Beland

QatarQatar is a Connecticut-sized country in the Persian Gulf that is rich in oil and natural gas, but poor in water. It has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world and its economy grew 19% in 2010. Doha, the capital city, has roughly tripled in size in the past 20 years. Because of this growth and its moonscape geography that supports little agriculture, the country imports 90% of its food. Food security is a serious issue for the small, desert country.

Qatar had developed only 12% of its agricultural potential in 2009, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization. It could develop an additional 115,000 acres of land, but it would require extensive irrigation. The FAO estimates it could cost as much as $3,800 to develop every two-and-a-half acres of drip-irrigated land. With annual revenue surplus for the 2010-2011 fiscal year at $12 billion, Qatar has the capital to finance it. According to arabianbusiness.com, Qatar signed a deal with Kenya in 2008 to finance a $2.3 billion deepwater port on Kenya’s coast in exchange for a lease on nearly 100,000 acres of uncultivated land in Kenya for agricultural production.

The challenges of this Middle Eastern country are not unlike those that have faced Oregon, a state with recognized leadership in sustainability, and where solutions to an arid eastern landscape have led to irrigation and farming innovations that have transformed it into some of the most productive agricultural land in the world. Morrow County alone produces enough wheat annually to give every one of Qatar’s 1.7 million residents a loaf of bread every day for a year.

Sheikh Hamad Bin Ali Bin Jassim Al-Thani has taken notice of Portland’s leadership in urban sustainability and Eastern Oregon’s high-tech, dry-land agricultural operations. As vice chairman of Qatar’s National Food Security Program and member of the ruling family — and a Portland State University alum — Al-Thani is looking to Oregon’s technological and agricultural institutions to help his country overcome its food, water and energy challenges and develop into a regional powerhouse for sustainable urban and agricultural development.

As with most things, there was no seminal moment that led Al-Thani to the Beaver State to solve his country’s problems. It was more like old friends who run into each other and offer to help one another with contacts and skills they have developed over the years.



 

Comments   

 
thinking about Oregon
0 #1 Oregon's Not A Pawn Shopthinking about Oregon 2011-06-27 00:48:24
Why so cheap to fund their program for only 2 Million for 3 years? That is a long time for such few dollars when Qatar is so rich with money.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Correction: Biker dreams

The Latest
Friday, May 15, 2015
bike at ater wynn-thumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is seeking input from businesses on a $5.5 million initiative to create a network of biking, transit and pedestrian trails within Portland’s central city.


Read more...

6 things to know about the Amtrak Cascades route

The Latest
Friday, May 22, 2015
thumb3BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The recent tragedy in Philadelphia has called attention to Amtrak and the nation's woefully underfunded rail service. Here are six facts about the Amtrak Cascades corridor between Eugene and Vancouver B.C. 


Read more...

European Vacation

Guest Blog
Thursday, April 23, 2015
norristhumbBY JASON NORRIS | GUEST BLOGGER

There are winners and losers with a strengthening U.S. dollar.


Read more...

The Health Guru

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Mohan Nair channels a visionary.


Read more...

Power Players

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY ROBERT MULLIN

A new energy-sharing agreement sparks concerns about independence and collaboration in the region's utility industry.


Read more...

Energy Stream

May 2015
Monday, April 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Oregon already ranks as the nation’s second largest generator of hydroelectric power. (Washington is No. 1). Now an elegant new installation in Portland is putting an unconventional, sharing economy twist on this age-old water-energy pairing. The new system, launched this winter, uses the flow of water inside city water pipes to spin four turbines that produce electricity for Portland General Electric customers. 


Read more...

Photo Diary: Forest Grove Farmers Market

The Latest
Thursday, May 14, 2015
IMG 8469BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

There are more than 160 farmers markets in Oregon, contributing an estimated $50 million in sales, according to the Oregon Farmers Markets Association. We checked in on the Forest Grove market, which for several years has brought local produce and food vendors to Main Street in the center of town.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS