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Qatar builds a dairy farm in the desert

Qatar builds a dairy farm in the desert

DOHA: One farm’s ambition to supply all of the dairy for Qatar’s 2.6 million people is becoming a reality. Baladna Farm, located about 55 kilometres from Qatar’s capital city Doha, has put together a rapid expansion plan to fill the entire country’s demand for milk products by April. While experienced with sheep and goat enterprises, Baladna Farm decided to set up its own cow dairy business following trade blockages imposed on Qatar by neighbouring countries.

In June, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties and initiated a trade boycott against Qatar, saying it supported terrorism. The normal dairy imports were cut off, so Baladna Farm set up its own unit, under guidance from farm chief executive officer John Dore, originally from County Kildare in Ireland.

As construction work got underway, cows were brought in from around the world. Currently, 1,800 Holstein cows make up the herd but the goal is to run a herd of 14,000 cows in the near future. Dore said more cows are on the way from the United States to rapidly expand the herd.

“We currently have 1,800 cows in the herd yielding 30 litres per cow per day. “We aim to have 14,000 cows plus followers,” he said. “We also aim to fatten bulls at 10 months old for the beef chain as well.

He said Baladna processes, packs and distributes all its own milk and is currently building a new dairy and juice factory capable of producing 500 tonnes per day.