KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait — Kuwait’s success in exporting oil has profited the elite within the country immensely and created economic stability as well. Land with an abundance of oil, however, comes at the cost of unsuitable farmland, thus causing the agricultural industry to suffer.
Even though the oil reserves in Kuwait have brought wild success, the problems with agriculture have affected more than just that sector of the economy. Unfit climates and vast desert have negatively affected food production, thus leaving many with food insecurity.
Inability to yield crops has forced Kuwait to look elsewhere and import the majority of its produce. There is a significant deficiency in natural resources in the country, which leaves small farm-owners with little opportunity to flourish. The consequences that have arisen from these issues have grabbed government attention, however, and recent actions have initiated steps to repairing the agricultural industry and helping combat the issue of rural poverty.
Kuwait’s deputy governor recently attended and spoke at International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) conference. IFAD is an organization that was established in 1977 and is a part of the United Nations. It was one of the prominent results of the World Food Conference in 1974, and has been a thriving force ever since. IFAD has invested about $110 million in research for agriculture and food security in the Middle East and North African region, which has benefited multiple countries tremendously.
The IFAD convention, which occurred on February 19, focused on supporting small-scale farmers and creating investment deals, which is a path many countries are taking lately to lift people out of poverty and boost agricultural industry. The lush land and plethora of natural resources in sub-Saharan Africa is quite appealing to the dry and desert-ridden countries in the Middle East, leaving opportunity for both parties to prosper from these land deals.
Another constructive outcome of this meeting is that representatives from IFAD signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC.) The document vowed for the two organizations to collaborate and work toward sustainable growth that could ultimately eliminate poverty in rural areas. Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait are the four prominent states of GCC that have helped fund IFAD in the past, and pledged at the conference to remain its valuable allies. This influential partnership solidifies Kuwait and the GCC’s commitment to solving their own agricultural difficulties as well as their commitment to fighting against rural poverty.
Agriculture has been making a comeback into the fiscal agenda of many countries, almost like a vintage proposal for economic success. This is a welcomed revival, as food security is an integral part of everyone’s lives, no matter government, culture, or religion. Because of this, there can be perpetual focus on supporting agriculture, whether it be through investment deals or innovative farming techniques. Kuwait, along with the GCC, has made an obligation to this issue in order to benefit people inside and outside of their borders. These are the collaborations necessary for global food security and long-lasting sustainability.