In a qualitative experience in Qatar, businessman Jaber Al-Mansoori proved that cultivating saffron – which is the most expensive spice in the world – can challenge the harsh climate, and establish itself within the modern plantations that have entered the desert environment in Qatar, and achieve production that covers an important space in local consumption, with The possibility of exporting in the future.
On his farm in Umm Al-Ashoush in the North region, businessman Jaber Al-Mansouri shows his happiness at inaugurating the first cut of red gold in Qatar, after 3 years he spent between studies and experiments, in an attempt to find the best and most effective saffron cultivation methods and ability to cope with the heat of the weather, in order to achieve this dream. Innovative farming, the latest in watering technology and cooling conditions.
Al-Mansouri relies in his experience cultivating saffron in two ways, the first is known as the hydroponic method, as the saffron bulbs that carry the flower directly onto the water grow without soil, and then the bulbs that carry the flower are kept in wooden boxes in a container that is re-routed and cooled by an air conditioning system. .
And the second is by planting the bulbs in the soil, while providing water distillation techniques to keep them from drying out, and both methods require covered greenhouses that provide suitable cooling conditions.
The first step
After the first pluck of this purple flower at Al-Mansouri farm, today he was able to determine the most efficient method, the most productive and the most cost-effective, and the least energy-consuming throughout the days of cultivation, and the least need for conditions of cooling and water evaporation, as the technique of cultivation in water proved its effectiveness and achieved high quality production estimated By 3 kilograms, after the bulbs were planted in 5 layers in a cooled container with an area of 150 square meters, while the cultivation in the soil achieved less production, with what it required of greater cultivation conditions.
To achieve this result, the success of which seemed impossible in Qatar, Al-Mansouri visited a number of countries that are famous for this type of agriculture, especially Iran, Afghanistan, Spain and Morocco, to find out the best experiences and advanced technologies that are employed in this type of high-income agriculture, which is heavily involved. In the food, medicine, cosmetics, and perfumes industries, to choose the use of Iranian expertise in this field, and the farm management provided it with all the necessary conditions to achieve the best production and yield.
Businessman Jaber Al-Mansouri, who specializes in organizing trade fairs, aspires to raise the pace of production in this project, and to distribute it locally as a national product, hoping to cover 25% of consumption within a year, with a fixed share in the Qatari market, and if he has the support of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, he can At that time, fully covering domestic consumption over a period of 5 to 6 years at the latest.
He told Al-Jazeera Net that the project experience he went through had already succeeded, and it is a pure Qatari achievement, and it is an experience that stimulates the owners of ideas to pay attention to the agricultural field to adopt this type of projects that enhance the production pillar and support the markets with distinctive Qatari products.
He added that the Coronavirus pandemic inspired him to make this dream a reality by devoting more time to it, as Al-Mansouri found more time to find out about the growth processes of the saffron flower, and what it requires of great care and effort, indicating that he received offers from foreign companies requesting to import the crop from this product in the year Next.
The flower of happiness
In Al-Mansoori farm, the stages of cultivation and production of saffron – or desert gold as a number of Qataris like to call it – follow the organic method, without using any kind of chemical drugs or soil fertilizers, except that the most difficult stages of production lie in harvesting and extracting it from flowers manually, while preserving On the follicles.
The saffron bulb begins to produce after two years of planting, and it can be used for a period ranging between 6 or 7 consecutive years, after which the planting place must be changed, and one hectare (10 thousand square meters) produces about 4 kilograms of saffron, up to a maximum.
Qatar’s annual consumption of saffron is about 700 kilograms, and this figure is moving in an upward trend in view of the intensification of saffron use in a number of new products, whether food or medicinal.
With the success of Al-Mansouri’s experience, the success of betting on the role of the local product and the need to encourage it appears, in recent years, and in its direction towards achieving a large share of self-sufficiency in a number of products, the government of Qatar has provided more support for the owners of ideas produced in the agricultural field, by providing them with the necessary expertise and modern technologies. As well as granting project owners the required spaces for agricultural projects, and supporting them with fertilizers and medicines, which reflected positively on the contributions of the local product in strengthening the internal market and supporting the economy.
Al-Mansouri does not hide his desire to break into other industries with saffron at its core, especially in the medical and cosmetic fields, but he is betting on supporting the competent authorities in Qatar and allocating support for companies that will go to this field, and accompanying them from the legal and marketing aspects, in a way that serves Qatar’s vision National 2030 and its bets that support the Qatari economy locally and internationally.