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Volume :12 Issue : 46 1986      Add To Cart                                                                    Download


Auther : By: Sulayman S. Al-Qudsi Shawkat Hammoudeh and Naffesah M. Eid

           Food security can be defined in terms of availability, accessibility and adequate nutritional content.  Because of Kuwait’s high per capita income and generous food subsidies food is readily accessible to the majority of the population.  Nutritional standards are high compared even to the most advanced countries.  The real threat to food security lies in Kuwait’s excessive dependence on imports, which leaves the country vulnerable to short-term interruptions in availability whether they are natural, economic or political.

          However, domestic production of certain food items has been steadily increasing.  Mainly because of government support of large-scale food production, Kuwait’s self-sufficiency in certain food items, notably poultry, eggs, fruit and vegetables is on the increase.  However, due to multiplicity of factors --- climate, shortage of fresh water for irrigation, soil salinity --- the growth and development of the agricultural sector is lagging behind other sectors of the economy.  The combination of rising per capita income, fast population growth and a lagging domestic agricultural sector has negative implications for food security.

          The country’s food security will not be improved simply by increasing domestic production because the opportunities for expanding domestic production are too limited.  Complete self-sufficiency is also beyond the means even of a country with Kuwait’s wealth.  Food security policies and planning must therefore encompass the full range of food-related issues, including demands as well as supply.  Attention must be given to the basic nutritional needs of the population and the quantity of food consumed.

          Per capita consumption of various food items has been increasing at a phenomenal rate, placing an excessive burden on the economy.  In view of the rigidities inherent in domestic food production, the rise in demand can only met at a cost of ever-increasing import costs.  Income elasticities for food, which have been falling elsewhere, are rising in Kuwait.  If this trend continues, the country’s balance of payments may be adversely affected and the economy may be hampered. 

          Historical data on food imports, production and consumption were incorporated into mathematical models to qualify the underlying technical, economic and demographic considerations that govern them.  The models were then used to test the effects of the policies regarding population, income and food prices.

          The simulation exercise indicates that unless the increase in consumption is sloved, domestic production will not grow fast enough to change the historical pattern of Kuwait’s food self-sufficiency and dependence on food imports would not be eased.  To bring food supply and demand into balance under emergency conditions, while meeting minimum nutritional standards, reducing demand must be given as much attention as maintaining supply.  Domestic production must be increased, but it is no less important to reduce waste and to purchase imports from less vulnerable sources.

          A basket of 13 food items can be used in time of emergency to tide the country over.  The basket meets the nutritional requirements of Kuwait’s population.  It also honors consumer preferences, although it is limited to less expensive food.  The overall cost of the basket is 60% less per capita than the present food budget of a typical household.

          The basket has several advantages which produces domestically.  It contains commodities that are currently stockpiled, which was established by Kuwait Supply Company.  Moreover, most of the basket’s food items can be stored for a long time.


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Dec 26, 2021

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