Al Safwa farm is abuzz with leading organic products. Olfa Guetata sheds light on the history of this leading farm…
Parisian native Olfa Guetata is not new in the culinary industry, having worked for many years in hospitality, Olfa had more to offer from her expertise in the field. But it was in 2013 when she decided to take a risk and move to Qatar to start a journey that would change her life. Pairing up with Al Safwa’s very own, Nasser Al Kawari, both started an adventure in expanding the farm’s organic products and creating awareness for healthier choices.
“In 2014 I paired up with Nasser and started to follow his farm that him and his family owned,” recalls Guetata. Al Safwa farm was first established in 1965 that was owned – and still is – by the Al Kawari family. But soon the farm, which served for personal purposes, went from conventional to better and into organic with Al Kawari’s vision. The farm is not only Doha’s leading farm, but the only farm, which offers organic and pesticide-free products. “75% of the farm is organic, and the other 25% is pesticide-free,” adds Guetata. But turning a farm from conventional to organic is not an easy ride. Guetata explains how the family took the risk in 2000 and transitioned into organic farming practices.
Following rigorous requirements for a successful title was a stepping-stone for Al Safwa farm, which in late 2013, it all became a success. The farm obtained its organic farming certification with international standards. “Al Safwa is the first farm to be certified in Doha,” adds Guetata happily. But how important is it for a farm to be certified? “It is extremely important to show the people it is possible to have an organic farm in a desert.
One that is a farm, but organic and pesticide-free at the same time,” says the French connoisseur. Being a fully certified farm and operating with all requirements, challenges are unavoidable. “The weather in Doha. It gets dusty!” adds Olfa.
But for those who wonder what organic really means, Guetata weighs in: “Organic is composed of many things. For instance, the soil has to rest, make rotation of your agriculture every year. For example, if you plant a tomato, next season you must rotate it with another product. Everything needs to be natural, strictly forbidden in using icing or cooling techniques. The farm also has to be far from industrial, or polluted areas. Also to keep in mind, the water must be clean, and have its own independent water source.”
But organic is not only measured by the cleanliness and strict rules one must follow for a successful harvest, but also, understand its process. “A tomato for example, it takes double the amount of time to nurture and produce.” Al Safwa farm wants the people of Doha to taste top quality organic products at a reasonable price.
“That was one of the main goals at the beginning,” adds Guetata. The products are collected everyday at 5am and end up at the supermarket by 9am. Take a step into a more organic lifestyle and make room for healthier choices.