FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Kuwait 2019 | INDUSTRY & FOOD | INTERVIEW

PAAAFR has adapted a package of policies to face challenges inherent to deserts, hot climate, and water scarcity, bringing Kuwait closer to achieving national food security, one step at a time.

Mohammed Yousif Soud Al-Sabah
BIOGRAPHY
Mohammed Yousif Soud Al-Sabah is the Board Chairman and Director at PAAAFR. He is also a retired general who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in management from Kuwait University. Previously, he was Assistant Secretary of the Border Affairs, Under Secretary at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the President of the Governing Council.

What growth potential does the agriculture and fishery sector have, and what place can it take within Kuwait's national plan?

Kuwait's agriculture and fishery sectors face various challenges inherent to desert lands, hot climate, and water scarcity. Nevertheless, motivated by the vision of HH the Amir and the cabinet's instructions, PAAAFR has adapted a package of policies to face such challenges with the ultimate goal of developing agriculture, animal, and fish farming in the national plan of diversifying the economy away from oil and gas. PAAAFR is also working on providing opportunities to both individuals and corporations to ensure the growth of the agricultural sector and its productivity in order to achieve national food security. In this regard, the agricultural, animal, and fish farming sectors provide various services and needs, including land fit for farming, agricultural material, fertilizers, effective chemical pesticides, vaccines, vet clinics, fodder outlets, outlets to market products, labs, guidance and training, seminars, and scientific practical and theoretical courses and brochures. In addition, PAAAFR collaborates with the relevant government bodies to provide the needed capital, loans, and reasonably priced irrigation and road grids for the farms. PAAAFR has encouraged individuals and corporations that had already shown competence in farming and productivity by providing them with new farming lands to expand and increase their productivity. The agricultural sector has grown remarkably over the past few years thanks to the projects conducted by PAAAFR, which have focused on pastures and forest farming materials, water usage technology, monitoring and fighting desertification, setting regional regulations for using processed sewage water, designing and building agricultural products and marketing centers, developing palm researches, reducing the risk of using agricultural pesticides, and developing wild plants, martyrs palms, and other projects.

What solutions are being implemented to ensure food security while reducing costs related to food imports?

PAAAFR highly prioritizes the safety of agricultural, fish, and animal food stuff by providing the needed labs and agricultural quarantines, examining food safety, and conducting tests and applied researches to probe the most efficient irrigation technologies, fertilization rates, methods of fighting pesticides. PAAAFR has also worked on providing solutions that best suit Kuwait's environmental conditions through boosting farmers' awareness about the best quality and most productive crops, farming methods, fertilizers, pest-fighting methods, and suitable modern irrigation systems, among other issues. Using such solutions, PAAAFR achieves the best use of land and water resources, which would naturally help maintain productivity rates and cut down imports. In its work, PAAAFR also considers the special nature of Kuwait's climate and environment through setting suitable and effective solutions for soil and water problems and contributes to land reclamation projects and treating oil-related pollution to maintain the soil's ecological diversity and fertility. PAAAFR also uses biological fertilization methods instead of chemical ones as well as composted and recycled green wastes with the aim of returning basic nutrients to the soil.

How is PAAAFR working with the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD) to shape a legal framework around production standards and methods?

As an effective member of FAO and AOAD, Kuwait is working on enhancing strategic partnerships and making use of creative methods of production with the ultimate goal of fighting soil deterioration, water paucity, and climate changes. It is also evident that cooperation amongst member states will also lead to setting a legal framework on production methods and regulations. To cement cooperation with FAO and AOAD, Kuwait approved agreement on building permanent regional headquarters for both FAO and AOAD. The presence of these organizations will develop the agricultural sector, making use of the technical, administrative, and training support they provide for Kuwaiti farmers as well as the research, experiments, and studies done in Kuwait.