Mapping the Agri-Food Ecosystem in the MENA Region
An Introduction to Food, Agriculture and Water Ecosystems in The Middle East and North Africa
Part II – Qatar
As Kök Projekt, we are passionate about knowing the future of the food and agriculture sector. We conduct research, prepare reports, follow agri-food ecosystem dynamics. We find it very informative and useful to know the stakeholders in the industry. Thus, we published several maps about the Turkish Agri-food ecosystem last year. This year, we extend our geography and dive into the MENA region. As a start, last month, we published our first-ever Bahrain Ecosystem map.
In our second map for the MENA Region, we continue with diving into the Qatari Ecosystem, featuring the stakeholders of Qatar’s Agri-Food Sector.
Despite the climate challenges, low rainfall, and high temperatures, Qatar has made a considerable effort for domestic crop production. The agriculture market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.3% between 2020 and 2025. According to Mordor Intelligence, the increase in the adoption of advanced farming technologies and government support for domestic crop production are the main drivers for the growth (1).
The OBG report also shows the government’s support for innovation in agriculture. According to the report, The Ministry of Commerce and Industry(MoCI) has identified potential sectors. Mohamed Al Malki, the deputy undersecretary for industrial affairs at the MoCI, told OBG that “One focus is on technologies of the future. Qatar has a distinct value proposition in this area, such as 3D printing, where we produce the raw product; agricultural innovation in arid climates, which would contribute to food security, and the technology used in desalination, which is a major industry here.” (2).
When we look at the agri-food sector for a specific country, we see complex networks in general. In Qatar also there are several actors engaged in the agri-food business; with this map, we aim to catch a comprehensive view of the agri-food sector in the Qatari Ecosystem.
Building The Map
Qatar has the third-largest proven natural gas reserves globally and one of the world’s highest GDP per capita(3). Today, the country is using its resources to become a knowledge-based economy. Qatar ranked 24 in Global Entrepreneurship Index in 2016 (4). Many governmental organizations such as the Ministry of Finance and Qatar Development Bank are working hard to ensure that entrepreneurs are provided with greater access to the country’s market and procurement opportunities (5). Qatar National Vision 2030 aims that by 2030 “Qatar becomes an advanced society capable of sustaining its development and providing a high standard of living for its people.”
TASMU Smart Qatar project is also developed by the Qatar Ministry of Transportation and Communication, focuses on five key economic sectors; Transportation, Logistics, Healthcare, Environment, and Sports. It aims to use the power of technology to deliver the future of Qatar. TASMU supports startups and corporates by finding the right decision-makers for them (3). You will discover many governmental, public, and non-profit organizations that work for Qatar’s blooming entrepreneurship ecosystem on our map.
Today, many corporate firms are diving into the startup ecosystem and getting involved with entrepreneurs, startup companies. They also support incubator and accelerator programs to reap the benefits of innovation. As Kök Projekt, we are an innovation partner for the food, agriculture, and water sector companies. We work with them closely. In our Qatar Agri-Food Ecosystem map, you will find many companies from food production, consultancy, telecommunication to IT, etc., which are working through innovation, supporting the ecosystem.
As Kök Projekt, we are an agri-food start-up accelerator. We follow startups from all over the world. To create our map, we used our database and searched on the internet for developments in Qatar’s startup world. Thanks to a digital-friendly environment, Qatar supports the success of startups. Many startups are working, especially in the food and beverage sector. Restaurant management platforms and delivery apps are leading the way. Innovation in the agriculture sector for arid farming and desalination practices also gains ground.
Creating a startup can be an exhaustive, expensive and arduous process. Investment funds are critical players for the primary concern of startup: Funding. The government or private sector backs many investment funds. Wamda Capital, Doha Invest, Q Invest are only some of them. Qatar Fund of Development is a public institution committed to improving the livelihood of communities. Moreover, Qatar Development Bank has many funding options for SME’s and entrepreneurs.
Incubators & Accelerators
Entrepreneurship is at the heart of sustainable growth for many countries in the MENA region. Incubators and accelerators catalyze the entrepreneurial journey. Thus, there are many incubators, accelerators, and entrepreneurship support organizations in the Qatar ecosystem. Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC) is one of the largest mixed-use business incubators in the MENA region. It offers training, office spaces, industrial workshops, technical and financial assistance. For other incubators and accelerators in the country, check out our map.
Research Centres& Academic Institutes
Research and academic institutes also have an essential place in the blooming of the Qatar entrepreneurship ecosystem. Qatar Foundation, a non-profit organization, hosts research-led international university branches. It also has a research Hub called Qatar Science and Technology Park(QSTP), which attracts many international firms’ research and development branches such as Microsoft and Siemens. The European Innovation Academy and QSTP partner to run the Arab Innovation Academy, the MENA region’s largest entrepreneurship Bootcamp (7). Moreover, several national and international universities are engaged in entrepreneurship programs and innovation. On our map, you will find many of them.
This is not a full-scale map of the Qatar Agri-Food Ecosystem.
You can reach our 2021 Qatar Agri-Food Ecosystem Map here.