Powering a sustainable future
Abdulrahman Al-Suwaidi, CEO, QAFCO and Chairman, Agri-nutrients Committee, GPCA, discussed the latest updates on QAFCO 7 and how the agri-nutrient market has been evolving over the past 12 months
The agri-nutrient market has seen significant disruption over the last year in the face of feedstock, sustainability and supply chain challenges. How will the market perform until the rest of the year and how do you expect it to evolve in 2023?
Demand for nitrogen agri-nutrients remains strong, however, there has been some decline in consumption/procurement due to cost with some growers putting off purchase hoping prices will reduce and others switching to less nitrogen intensive crops. Agri-nutrient markets follow growing cycles rather than calendar years and market performance will be subject to different factors such as agri-nutrient prices, crop prices and weather.
Generally speaking though, it can be expected that food prices will increase as farming input and supply chain costs have increased.
When it comes to sustainability, food security should continue to take priority over other considerations. That being said, it is imperative that all elements of the food supply chain focus on improving their environmental performance (agri-nutrient producers, growers, retailers and consumers) but without compromising the ability to provide healthy, nutritious food for the world’s growing population.
How has QAFCO been affected over the last year or so by the challenges presented by the pandemic and ongoing geopolitical factors? What has your performance been like?
QAFCO has been affected as all organizations by global challenges. However, the company has a very strong team and, with the support of its stakeholders, has been able to maintain performance and ensure reliable supply of quality products to customers.
Can you tell us more about the world-scale blue ammonia plant scheduled for competition in 2026? At 3,500tons/day, it is slated to have a record production capacity. How will the new plant support QAFCO’s position on the blue ammonia market and help to advance its competitiveness globally?
The QAFCO 7 Project is the world’s largest dedicated blue ammonia project and would not have been possible without the outstanding support received from QatarEnergy and Industries Qatar. Building on QAFCO’s reputation for being a reliable supplier, the project shall firmly position Qatar as a leader in global energy transition efforts.
How does QAFCO approach growing calls on the industry to lower its environmental footprint and produce cleaner, more sustainable agri-nutrients? Do you have any investments (besides the blue ammonia plant), innovation projects and other programs and initiatives aimed at addressing this trend?
QAFCO is committed to improving its environmental performance and achieving net zero by 2050. The company is reviewing and updating its sustainability plan to highlight the many areas it shall be addressing including investments to improve efficiency and produce higher efficiency agri-nutrients.
As has been noted previously though, sustainability plans always need to make due considerations for all United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). Agri-nutrient producers’ main contribution to the SDG’s is SDG 2 – Zero Hunger and the industry should enable the world’s farmers to grow sufficient food for all.
QAFCO was awarded recently the prestigious Crystal Award for Qatarization Support in the energy sector. What does the award mean to you and what are your future plans to develop your employees and contribute to further Qatarization targets?
QAFCO was honoured to receive this prestigious award, especially when considering the outstanding efforts of other organizations in Qatar’s energy sector in this area. QAFCO believes that sustainability is an ongoing journey with new technology, innovations and developments being incorporated as they are developed. Through its support of the education sector, QAFCO will work with the academic sector to ensure today’s students (tomorrow’s leaders) are conversant with the challenges faced by industry and potential solutions.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
The agri-nutrient industry has recently been taking centre stage as global events highlighted its criticality to global food security. This is an important lesson that should not be forgotten going forward. QAFCO looks forward to working with its stakeholders and industry organizations such as GPCA and IFA to develop a Global Food Security Roadmap to develop a path that allows production of food for all in an environmentally responsible, achievable manner.
Finally, QAFCO’s successes could not have been achieved without the vision, support, and guidance received from QatarEnergy and Industries Qatar. The company is privileged to have been given this trust and the entire QAFCO team is committed to ensuring QAFCO continues to be a leader in the agri-nutrient sector as well as the potential new low carbon ammonia sector.