Qatar: blazing new trails?

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Prof. Krzysztof Młynarczyk, dean of the Faculty of Environmental Management and Agriculture
The University of Warmia and Mazury is the first university to present itself at Agriteq – the agricultural exhibition in Doha, the capital of Qatar. It was represented by the Faculty of Environmental Management and Agriculture and this representation may just be the beginning.

The Agriteq agricultural exhibition in Doha, the capital of Qatar, is held every two years. This year was the 5th edition (22-25.03.). The exhibition attracts many exhibitors from Asia, America and Europe, but a university had never participated in it before. How did it happen that the UWM was the first one?

“It happened because of mgr inż. Abdalla Omer Elkhatib, an academic of the Department of Landscape Architecture, who stays in contact with his friend, currently an employee of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment in Qatar, which supervises the Department of Agriculture. This department invited us to the exhibition, but all the expenses of our trip were incurred by Al-Sulaiteen Agricultural Research Study and Training Centre – a private company acting on behalf of the government of Qatar,” explains Prof. Krzysztof Młynarczyk, the Dean of the Faculty of Environmental Management and Agriculture (WKŚiR), who was the head of the UWM’s three-person delegation.      

At the UWM’s stand, visitors could become acquainted with the research issues of the faculty, the fields of study as well as the UWM in general.

The trip to Qatar was not made in a haphazard way and the fact that the Dean of the Faculty of Environmental Management and Agriculture went there was not accidental either. At present, Qatar wishes to develop its own agriculture because it is heavily dependent on food imports. As Qatar is capable of it and has the necessary resources, it is looking for top specialists who can help to reach it.

“They are interested in, among others, such issues as the cultivation of fodder crops, animal feeding, gardening, combating plant diseases, including greenhouse plants and landscape architecture. We are able to advise them on all of these. Regarding animals, this means camels, sheep and goats, i.e. ruminants. Regarding the cultivation of fodder crops, they are interested in, for example, alfalfa – which is well-known in Poland. Protecting greenhouse plants against pests and diseases is nothing new to us either,” explains Prof. Młynarczyk. It turns out that there already are now the first fodder crops in the desert and the first greenhouses in Qatar. This country can afford to desalinate sea water and to send it by pipelines 40 km from the sea.    

“I had talks at Qatar’s Department of Agriculture. The Qataris are interested in the research on fodder crops, agricultural consultancy and doctoral studies at the UWM in agronomy, but with research conducted in Qatar. It seems that they treat us very seriously, because Abdullah Sulaiteen, the Chairman of the Al Sulaiteen Centre, accepted the invitation of the Rector of the UWM to visit Kortowo and promised that after Ramadan he would visit the UWM and acquaint himself with everything on-site,” adds the dean of WKŚiR.

Qatar made a strong impression on Prof. Krzysztof Młynarczyk. Qataris are to a great extent an open and tolerant society. There are about 300,000 of them and 1,5 mil. migrants. Women have many freedoms. They can, for example, drive a car or hold offices in administration.

“Our host, Abdullah Sulaiteen, gave us a warm reception; he gave us the red carpet treatment, to be honest. Doha is a very modern city. I was really happy to see that some of the public buildings preserve their Arabian architectural style. There is a lot of greenery, arranged by different companies. Qataris are not completely satisfied with the results because they are offered unified decorative modules. They desire diversity. It is also a chance for us because they are building eight stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Someone will have to design the areas around these stadiums,” noted the Dean.            

Prof. Młynarczyk was also astonished by the investment momentum. The suburban terrains stretching over many kilometres from Doha are one great building site.  

During his trip to Qatar, Prof. Krzysztof Młynarczyk, the Dean of WKŚiR, was accompanied by mgr inż Abdalla Omer Elkhatib and mgr inż Sławomir Gromadzki, a doctoral student at the Department of Water Resources, Climatology and Environmental Management, who presented his patents on rainwater retention in the soil. The average annual precipitation in Qatar is around 80 mm. Episodic heavy rains are from December to February. It is a remarkable achievement to collect water underground and then to use it to water crops.

 

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