The Abu Dhabi-based firm organised the Australian Festival at Al Messila, Qatar, earlier this month to promote Australian food. This is the second time that it is conducting Australian Festival in Qatar.
In response to queries from FoodNavigator-Asia, a Lulu Group spokesman said that the firm saw a 25% increase in the sales of Australian food over the past two years, and the firm hoped to maintain the same growth rate.
“There has been considerable increase in the demand for Australian food products since the last two years,” the spokesman said, citing a growing expat community.
“Expats from Australia and its surrounding countries such as New Zealand are the main consumers of Australian products. Over 5,500 Australian expats are working in high-ranking positions in Qatar in line with the upcoming World Cup 2022.
“Increasing demand from the local community has also been noticed during this period of time. Qatar has a high per capita income and in general, Qatari citizens are highly conscious of health and wellness.”
There has been greater export of meat, fresh food, manufactured food and vegetables, including carrots and citrus from Australia to Qatar, Australia’s ambassador to Qatar, Dr Axel Wabenhorst, said in his speech at the event launch.
Lulu Group’s spokesman added that the firm was in the process of introducing more Australian products, especially specialty food.
The Australian Festival, which runs for four days, is organised by Lulu Group and the Australian embassy in Qatar.
Achieving food security
Besides exporting food, Australia is also expected to play a key role in helping Qatar achieve food security.
Qatar has devised a strategic food security project valued at QR$1.6bn (USD$439m) located at Hamad Port, south of Doha.
As part of the project, Qatar is developing facilities and warehouses at the port which will stockpile processed and stored food for three million people for two years.
The port will also serve to re-export food to neighbouring countries.
Australian, being a major food producing country, is listed as one of the important partners of the project.
“We are looking for strategic international partners for cooperation as we expect that the government will hand over the project to private sector to run it efficiently. And Australia, being a major food producing country, can be one of the important partners,” Mohammed bin Ahmed bin Towar Al Kuwari, First Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Qatar Chamber, told local media The Peninsula during a meeting with the visiting Australian trade delegation this week.
Dr Wabenhorst also said that Australia’s dryland farming expertise could help Qatar in its journey to achieve food security.