Home / Business / Milk cows resting on chilled sand beds in Qatar, a success since the Saudi boycott

Milk cows resting on chilled sand beds in Qatar, a success since the Saudi boycott



Three times a day, the Holstein cows on this dairy farm north of Doha go on a circular platform to connect to automated milking pipes.

Afterwards, they are sprayed with cold water and go back to one of the 40 state-of-the-art barn where misting and cooling systems keep the summer temperature at about 82 degrees (28 degrees Celsius), far below the brutal 110 degrees (43 degrees C), is outside Qatars scrub.

The cows, about 20,000 of them, rest on beds of chilled sand. They do anything but yoga, joked Saba Mohd NM Al Fadala, the farm's PR director with attention to the comfortable conditions.

Two years ago none of this was here.

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  Newborn calves sleep on sand in open-air cases under 40 meters high rooftops with fans at Baladna farm.

WASHINGTON POST / SALWAN GEORGES

Newborn calves sleep on sand in open-air cases under 40 meters high rooftops with fans at Baladna farm.

Qatar imported all its milk needs. But then, nearby Saudi Arabia and its regional allies declared that they would block Qatar over disputes that claimed Qatar supported Islamist factions such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

Who left Qatar – rich in oil and natural gas – you have to think about how to get everything from building material to milk.

Now this farm, called Baladna, or "our country" and its five "milking benches" give enough milk to the home market in addition to making products such as cheese and yogurt. The company has also started to export small quantities to Oman, Yemen and Afghanistan.

"This is one of the biggest successes since the blockade," said Adam Peffer, a native of Michigan who has worked in Dubai and other countries before joining Qatar to manage the dairy business. "If there had been no blockade, it would not be here. It shows the importance of food safety."

The blockade has been turned into a conversation war for Qataris.

"The economy is getting stronger," said Yousef Al Horr, founding chair of an environmental group, the Yellow Research and Development Association. He listed the new food industry, the more direct delivery routes and an increase for local logistics companies associated with new port facilities.

"We now have direct access to original suppliers and we cut out these intermediaries," he said. 19659018] The Baladna's Holstein choir is seen in a dairy farm on a circular platform with automated milking pipes in Al Khor, Qatar. ” style=”width:100%;display:inline-block”/>

WASHINGTON POST / SALWAN GEORGES

The Baladna's Holstein choir is seen in a dairy farm on a circular platform with automated milking pipes in Al Khor, Qatar.

Overall, Qatar has adapted to the sanctions more than two years ago by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt. The countries that were upset by what they claimed were funding for extremist groups and support for Arab spring movements, took a direct purpose in the Qatar economy and flagship brands like Qatar Airways.

The sweeping diplomatic and commercial dude was an unparalleled trait between the Gulf Arab nations who usually attempted to present a united front. But Qatar had increasingly faced regional pressure over its independent politicians and the growing gap of Doha-based transmitter Al Jazeera over the Arab-speaking world.

Qatar also has money to ride out.

Qatar strongly on liquid natural gas, which accounts for about 85 percent of total exports. The massive LNG exports, including production companies with ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell, have remained unlimited. In January, Qatar, which also produces only 600,000 barrels of oil per day, concluded the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries or OPEC.

While US President Donald Trump initially sounded sympathetic to Saudi complaints, the signals have changed. Qatar's leader, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, met the president of the Oval office this month and discussed investments, bypassing the blockade in a rare break in US support for Riyadh.

  The Baladna plant in Al Khor, Qatar.

WASHINGTON POST / SALWAN GEORGES

The Baladna plant in Al Khor, Qatar.

Qatar has "successfully absorbed the shocks" from a decline in oil prices from 2014 to 2016 and the boycott in Saudi Arabia introduced in June 2017, said the International Monetary Fund in the spring's assessment. Qatar's inflation-adjusted GDP growth is estimated at 2.2 percent, an increase from 1.6 percent in 2017, the report reported.

S & P Global, which had changed Qatar's outlook for negative 2017, has changed it back to stable. [19659002] Qatar has also redirected much of its trade. Much of it previously flowed through Saudi Arabia – Qatar's only land border – or through the sea through Dubai. Now many ships come to Qatar from Turkey, India and Oman.

And Turkey, which made an agreement last year with Qatar central bank that helped stabilize the Turkish lira, is happy to increase trade.

  An employee is seen in Baladna farm.

WASHINGTON POST / SALWAN GEORGES

An employee is seen in Baladna farm.

The next World Cup, which will take place in Qatar in 2022, hangs over everything. There are over $ 200 billion in major construction projects – eight new or refurbished stadiums, a new subway system, and a brand new city in the northern part of Doha.

And Qatar has also fallen back on its sovereign wealth fund, which diverted about $ 20 billion of its approximately $ 320 billion of assets back to Qatar.

Many of the building materials for stadiums, roads and tunnel projects no longer come from or through Saudi Arabia and UAE. Instead, Qatar has activated backup plans that were part of its World Cup proposal. Al Rayyan Stadium, for example, would use steel from one of the boycotting countries and instead imported goods from Oman.

It has certainly been tubers.

  Baladna farm products are displayed in a restaurant on their Al Khor, Qatar, campus.

WASHINGTON POST / SALWAN GEORGES

Baladna farm products are displayed at a restaurant at Al Khor, Qatar, campus.

Since they have to avoid the Saudi airspace, commercial flights must take longer distances. It disturbs the foreign workers who make up about 90 percent of the 2.7 million people here. The journey from Sudan's capital Khartoum to Doha doubled to nearly seven hours. A consultant in Saudi Arabia must fly through Kuwait to visit relatives in Doha. He visits less often.

Students from Bahrain, Egypt and Saudi Arabia who used to attend more than a dozen US university programs had to return home and most have not returned.

However, enrollment went up at the Doha-based universities, including Carnegie Mellon University, Georgetown University and Cornell University's Medical School.

"There is great demand for US degrees," says Konstantinos E Kakosimos, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University in Qatar.

Fortunately for Qatar, it had just completed a port expansion project when the blockade was introduced, making it much easier to import directly from vendors and skip regional logistics centers in places like Dubai or Saudi Arabia. 19659018] Employees transport cheese in Baladna farm. ” style=”width:100%;display:inline-block”/>

WASHINGTON POST / SALWAN GEORGES

Employees transport cheese inside Baladna farm.

The Baladna farm is the most prominent example of Qatar's efforts for self-sufficiency.

When the blockade was announced, Qatar could get milk machines shipped quickly by paying an Irish company who is also trying to buy the equipment to step aside for a rush order.

Then it moved cows from Europe with Russian loading plan. A large number of these cows died of thermal stress, but it was before the barn and the cooling system were completely constructed. The farm also has a 17-person veterinary team and hospital.

Since then, several cows have been imported from the United States and Canada.

  The employees' boots are seen in Baladna farm.

WASHINGTON POST / SALWAN GEORGES

Employed boots are seen in Baladna farm.

To raise a hard breed that is used to relatively hot conditions, they sleep newborns on sand in outdoor cages under high rooftops with fans. They move to the barn after a year.

There are drawbacks to raising cows in Qatar, where summer heat peaks 115 degrees (46 degrees C). Cows cannot be left out to chew grass; There are no. Hay comes from places like the United States, Spain, France, Germany and Romania.

In addition, Baladna uses a lot of water to cool the cows in a country that is heavily dependent on desalination plants. Each cow uses 185 liters a day with water for misting, so the farm goes as much as possible.

The farm can use solar energy, but Kamel Abdallah, the managing director of Baladna, says that it is cheaper to use the subsidized 35 megawatts of gas-fired electricity on the grid.

The company plans to sell a majority of the shares in a public offering later this year. It will be a test.

"Fifty percent of the job is thinking beyond the blockade," Abdallah said. As a result, he tries to build brand loyalty "very fast". One tactic: Student groups visit during the school year.

He added: "Now we have the market for ourselves."

The dairy has not solved the financial problem of getting Qataris to work in Qatar. People with Qatar origin account for just under a tenth of the 2.7 million people here. The privately owned company Baladna has created 1800 jobs – but the company only hired its first genuine Qatari employee, Al Fadala. The rest comes from all over the world.

Daughter of a diplomat, she studied life sciences in London, focusing on bacteria on fruit and flora. A few years ago she started a company that grew flowers.

"In the past, I grew roses in the desert," she said. "Now I help grow cows in the desert. Nothing is impossible for us."


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