Tuesday, March 20, 2018
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Qatar will have enough milk by Ramadan: Baladna

Since the Gulf crisis, Qatari dairy firm imported thousands of cows from Europe and the US.

Baladna farm near Al Khor, Qatar,

The Qatari market is expected to become self-sufficient in dairy products by the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in about two months.

Speaking to Anadolu news agency, Moutaz al-Khayyat, chairman of the board of directors for Baladna, said the company is now in a position to fulfil the demand of the local market.

The move comes as part of efforts of the Gulf state to overcome an air, sea and land blockade imposed on it by four Arab countries since June 2017.

The company expects to increase the production of fresh milk and yoghurt to 500 tonnes a day, which is sufficient for domestic demand, with a surplus of 100 tonnes for export.

New cows 

While the blockade by the four countries continues, al-Khayat said in two days the company will collect 3,200 cows shipped by sea from the US, to supplement its existing stock.

"Baladna company, immediately after the blockade, had imported 4,000 cows from the United States and Europe," he said.

"The new number of cows represents a significant step towards a more sustainable and productive growth phase and will help us meet the market demands of high-quality fresh dairy products," al-Khayyat said.

Qatar had relied mainly on dairy product imports from Saudi Arabia with 400 tonnes of milk and yoghurt imported daily.

"We will be exporting after self-sufficiency in dairy products in Qatar," al-Khayyat said.

Output potential

"The farm is equipped to comfortably house more than 20,000 cows," Peter Weltevreden, Chief Executive of Baladna, told Anadolu news agency.

He added the farm is specially designed to suit Qatari environment and high temperatures.

"After the arrival of the new number of cows, production will increase to about 200 tonnes of fresh milk daily," Weltevreden said.

By 2019, he said, the farm will function in full capacity with 20,000 cows.

"In May 2018, 3,200 cows will arrive and in November of the same year 3,000 more," he added.

The farm includes a milk packaging plant and another plant is planned for the end of 2018.

"Most of the packing equipment for Baladna's products are imported from Turkey, and many Turkish experts and consultants are working with us," he added.

Every day, many people visit Baladna Farm that includes a zoo, a large park and a restaurant, according to the company's employees in charge of the farm.

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