Qatar Row: Food And, By Proxy, Ramadan May Be Affected

As a former Political Science student, I keep a wary eye on International Affairs and the latest developments. Obviously, we were all shook when the news broke that Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Libya and Yemen had cut diplomatic ties with Qatar.

However, our reaction is nothing compared to the shock of the Qatari people, and the ramifications that they will face in the coming months. It shouldn’t be a surprise that a desert nation, such as Qatar would find it difficult to grow crops (it’s in the name ‘desert nation’).

Unfortunately, their food woes are compounded by the fact that Qatar has only one border by way of land which is shared with Saudi Arabia (what are the odds). Every day hundreds of lorries cross the border, with food being one of the main supplies. About 40% of Qatar’s food is believed to come via this route.

Saudi Arabia has said it will close that border and when the lorries stop, Qatar will become reliant solely on air and sea freight. Ghanem Nuseibeh, director at advisory firm Cornerstone Global speaking to BBC says “It will immediately cause inflation and that will directly affect normal Qatari people.”

He also points out that many poorer Qataris make daily or weekly trips to Saudi to do their grocery shopping as it is cheaper. Clearly, a closed border means this will no longer be possible.

The cost of living will skyrocket which will cause the standard of living of the average Qatari to plummet. It is almost guaranteed that the Ramadan celebrations will be hit hard by this news. One can be certain that it can only go downhill from here.