Airlift 2.0: Qatari businessman to fly 4,000 cows to beat Saudi blockade

Call it the biggest bovine airlift in history.

By: Bloomberg | Published:June 14, 2017 1:02 pm
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Call it the biggest bovine airlift in history.

The showdown between Qatar and its neighbors has disrupted trade, split families and threatened to alter long-standing geopolitical alliances. It’s also prompted one Qatari businessman to fly 4,000 cows to the Gulf desert in an act of resistance and opportunity to fill the void left by a collapse in the supply of fresh milk.

It will take as many as 60 flights for Qatar Airways to deliver the 590-kilogram beasts that Moutaz Al Khayyat, chairman of Power International Holding, bought in Australia and the U.S. “This is the time to work for Qatar,” he said.

Led by Saudi Arabia, Qatar stands accused of supporting Islamic militants, charges the sheikhdom has repeatedly denied. The isolation that started on June 5 has forced the world’s richest country by capita to open new trade routes to import food, building materials and equipment for its natural gas industry. The central bank said domestic and international transactions were running normally.

Turkish dairy goods have been flown in, and Iranian fruit and vegetables are on the way. There’s also a campaign to buy home-grown produce. Signs with colors of the Qatari flag have been placed next to dairy products in stores. One sign dangling from the ceiling said: “Together for the support of local products.”

“It’s a message of defiance, that we don’t need others,” said Umm Issa, 40, a government employee perusing the shelves of a supermarket before taking a carton of Turkish milk to try. “Our government has made sure we have no shortages and we are grateful for that. We have no fear. No one will die of hunger.”

What Crisis?
Most of the fresh milk and dairy products for Doha’s more than 1 million population came from Saudi Arabia up until a week ago. That milk is getting scarce after the kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and two allies cut transport links with a country that spends $500 million a week to prepare stadiums and a metro before the soccer World Cup in 2022.

Al Khayyat, whose main business is a construction firm that built Qatar’s biggest mall, had been expanding the company’s agricultural business at a farm 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Doha. Food security is part of Qatar’s government strategy to steer the economy away from petrodollars, known, like in Saudi Arabia, as “Vision 2030.”

On a site covering the equivalent of almost 70 soccer fields, new grey sheds line two strips of verdant grass in the desert with a road running through the middle up to a small mosque. It produces sheep milk and meat and there were already plans to import the cows by sea. Then Qatar was ostracized, so the project was expedited.

Fresh milk production will now start by the end of the month rather than September and will eventually cover a third of Qatar’s demand by mid-July, Al Khayyat said at his office in Doha. Facilities for the Holstein cows are ready, though the company will take a hit on the shipping cost for the animals, which increased more than five times to $8 million.

“No one in his daily life feels a crisis,” Al Khayyat said. “The government is working very hard to ensure there’s no effect.”

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  1. C
    Cleanermirror
    Jun 14, 2017 at 5:58 pm
    Muslims are so dumb and stu pid they eat what they cannot survive without
    Reply
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      Amit Bhattacharjie
      Jun 14, 2017 at 5:39 pm
      The power of gas.
      Reply
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        mimi sur
        Jun 14, 2017 at 4:40 pm
        Qataris eat beef regularly, but can't produce milk ? Strange .... If they had saved and nurtured indigenous breed of cows for milk, they wouldn't have to airlift cows . Yes, you must have that beef in your head to think smart...
        Reply
        1. A
          Amit Bhattacharjie
          Jun 14, 2017 at 5:40 pm
          Think smart. The beef that is being consumed is imported.
          Reply
          1. M
            mimi sur
            Jun 14, 2017 at 6:31 pm
            Then why can't they import milk ? if meat can be imported, milk can be imported too . Fact of matter is these Arabians are dumb . A time when they were powerful, then only wasted their energy in spreading dirty Islam . Now when they have money, they buy liquor from Europe and girls for from Hyderabad and from many places . Just wait for few decades when oil will be finished . Then they will beg for everything, be it milk or meat or water.
            1. A
              arc
              Jun 14, 2017 at 7:01 pm
              Mimi Sur is a true chaddi ignoramus. Doesn't know anything doesn't read anything but has to comment. Will some one tell this silly girl that Qatar is facing a trade embargo. So things that could be easily imported through established trade channels cannot be so easily imported. They are facing shortages of all kinds. Disclaimer: I don't support or oppose Qatar, have no position on it. Just wrote this to expose the ignorance of all chaddis- - from Mimi Sur to Modi to Vomit Shah.
          2. B
            bitterhoney
            Jun 14, 2017 at 4:40 pm
            Hats off to you Mr Khayyat for being so concerned about the needs of people of your country. May God bless you sir.
            Reply
            1. C
              Cleanermirror
              Jun 14, 2017 at 6:02 pm
              He shouldn't have involved Qatar in terrorism "even if the cause is justified" -if he was really concerned
              Reply
            2. B
              Bharat Maa
              Jun 14, 2017 at 4:35 pm
              where are the so called fekubhakts who boast of MOTHER COW, business is better than Mother now? poor individuals were murdered by these bhakts.
              Reply
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                arc
                Jun 14, 2017 at 3:45 pm
                I hope Qatar will airlift lndia's prized bovines Smriti irani and Uma Bharti.
                Reply
                1. B
                  bitterhoney
                  Jun 14, 2017 at 4:24 pm
                  ek to bahut dudhari hai, Qatari doodh peete peete thak jayeinge.
                  Reply
                  1. A
                    ashah
                    Jun 14, 2017 at 4:39 pm
                    Like ur M om. lol
                  2. A
                    ashah
                    Jun 14, 2017 at 4:38 pm
                    Send your Mo m as well. And off. Course pork ban ging your sister.
                    Reply
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                    autonomous
                    Jun 14, 2017 at 2:53 pm
                    Sure india wil also export bovine to qatar if qatar gives large sum of money dia gov putting ban on eating practises of their own people but will export for another country for a large sum,this gonna happen if qatar crisis extended.
                    Reply
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                      bitterhoney
                      Jun 14, 2017 at 4:30 pm
                      May be beef supply is also affected, it is good opportunity for India to supply huge quan y of beef to Qatar using transport planes.
                      Reply
                    2. P
                      Pais Hilary
                      Jun 14, 2017 at 2:50 pm
                      He will have to fly in fodder for the cows non-stop and also fly out the cow excreta. Be ing occupation for this outstanding businessman.
                      Reply
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