Qatar's food producers are turning to new importers to fill a gap left by an ongoing diplomatic spat with its Gulf neighbours, with Iran committing to ramp up its exports to the country. As Laura Frykberg reports, a Qatar meat processing plant has put on extra shifts to try to double the company's output of chicken, beef and lamb.
At a meat processing plant in the Qatari capital, Doha. They're working flat out after the country's closest friends became its foes. But Qatar - which imports almost all its food - has relationships elsewhere. Iran has sent 100 tonnes of food to the Gulf nation - and Qatar says others are offering to follow suit. SOUNDBITE (English) CHAIRMAN OF INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS DEVELOPMENT CO., AHMED AL-KHALAF, SAYING: "Now we will start importing from Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Romania, from Bulgaria. In fact, I am leaving next week to make some other arrangements to bring from other countries." The Saudi-led isolation of Qatar began last week. When they accused the country of backing terrorism. It led to the cutting of diplomatic and transport ties - impacting imports. Panic buying since, has forced some producers in Qatar to refocus on the domestic market. SOUNDBITE (English) CHAIRMAN OF INTERNATIONAL PROJECTS DEVELOPMENT CO., AHMED AL-KHALAF, SAYING: "We have put two shifts instead of one shift to increase the production and also we stopped exporting. We concentrated all our production to our local market. And we are putting our plan next week to treble the production." Qatar's government remains defiant against the sanctions. Its Finance Minister saying the economy will be fine - after all it supplies most of the world with its liquefied natural gas. Adding that if his country loses money - so too will some of those behind the blockade.