A number of Kuwaiti farmers last week distributed tons of their best products to citizens and expats free of charge at the vegetable market in Andalus, explaining that this step was in support of consumers and to protest against manipulation and raising the prices of the same products from other countries, which they see as a war against local products. Of course, this was a pleasant surprise for people who went there to get local produce free of charge at a time prices of vegetables have increased significantly without justification and without any intervention by the government.
MP Mohammed Al-Mutair accused the government of fighting Kuwaiti farmers instead of helping them, calling on the government to resign. “In light of the regional situation, Kuwaiti farmers are being fought by the government instead of helping them until we reach self-sufficiency to bear the scourge of war,” he tweeted.
I have been monitoring several official statements for more than a week. All the statements are warning of a possibility of a coming war in the region, which is frightening and worrying for all. Therefore, local products are important because the occurrence of any war – God forbid – in the region means that imports from abroad may stop. So dependence on local products should not be harmed and support of local farmers is a must.
I am not an expert on agriculture, but I know that Kuwait may have signed agreements with the agricultural organization FAO, which assesses local farmers and urges governments to support local products. I wonder why local farmers face problems and unjustified competition. Among the problems that hit farms in the past was the increase in electricity and gasoline prices and the acute shortage of workers, along with other problems that are easy to resolve to end the suffering of local farmers.
In Kuwait, there is an official agriculture body that has been calling to provide services to farmers and all possible assistance and coordination with the farmers throughout the country, along with providing necessary and vital services in agricultural areas. But this angry gathering recently by the farmers means that there is a real problem that needs an immediate solution.
Fruit and vegetable cultivation in Kuwait has developed significantly. For example, strawberries are available for nearly five months on a daily basis in most local markets. Right now, the region is going through a real crisis and this heated situation does not allow the anger of the people. Local farms deserve support now and always. I believe that it is imperative to open marketing outlets for local agricultural products in public parks in Kuwait throughout the year to serve both the consumers and farms, and increase support for each agricultural sector.
By Muna Al-Fuzai