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Food security in Kuwait

Analysis of food security in Kuwait

Food security is achieved when all individuals, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to food that meets their nutritional needs for a healthy and active life, by providing the types of food they prefer.

Animal and plant production play a major role in achieving food security by providing meat, eggs, milk and vegetables with high nutritional value and safety. Food security is affected by many factors, such as the environment, water, feed availability, prices, diseases, and food safety. In this context, Kuwait relies heavily on food imports, and ranks first globally in meat (poultry and red meat) consumption per capita. Statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations show that Kuwait produces about 30% and 23% of its fresh meat and milk needs, respectively.

Self-sufficiency levels for animal feed and vegetables are approximately 5% and 55% respectively. Small and medium greenhouses are a major source of vegetable production, but occupy a total area representing only 1% of the total area under agricultural crops. The following table shows the evolution of consumption and self-sufficiency rates for the most important agricultural products:

Type 2017 2018 2019
  Red meat Local production 8947 9041 11072
Available for consumption 57940 54439 52124
Per capita rate 14 13 12
Self-sufficiency 15% 17% 21%
  Poultry meat Local production 55755 61118 61187
Available for consumption 186938 199259 197489
Per capita rate 46 47 44
Self-sufficiency 30% 31% 31%
  fish Local production 2876 2433 2215
Available for consumption 30664 30303 31758
Per capita rate 7.5 7.2 7.1
Self-sufficiency 9% 8% 7%
  Shrimp     Local production 1232 698 666
Available for consumption 6469 7276 6439
Per capita rate 1.6 1.7 1.4
Self-sufficiency 19% 10% 10%

From the table, it appears that Kuwait achieved very low sufficiency rates in previous years, which poses a threat to food security in the country. As a result, Kuwait has developed a strategy to enhance food security within its borders and achieve high levels of self-sufficiency. This strategy was based on four basic pillars:

  • Providing food.
  • Easy access to food.
  • Optimal use and benefit.
  • stability.

Thanks to this strategy, Kuwait succeeded in achieving high rates of self-sufficiency, as it ranked second in food security in the Arab region after the State of Qatar, and 28th globally out of 133 countries. This confirms the integrity of the plans produced by the state, and reflects the excellence of the government’s ongoing efforts to achieve food security.

The State of Kuwait attaches special importance to food security and considers it a fundamental strategic policy in its vision. Food security in Kuwait is not limited to securing basic and secondary food needs only, but also extends to focusing on food safety and sustainability, and enhancing food wealth.

Food security policies in the sustainable development plan include:

  • Achieving a real growth rate of the agricultural sector of 6.6% per year, with an increase in the volume of overall investment and a fundamental contribution of the private sector.
  • Strengthening the role of the agricultural sector and increasing its growth rates to raise self-sufficiency rates.
  • Encouraging the use of modern technologies in agriculture and raising the efficiency of productive projects in the agricultural sector.
  • Improving the management, protection and maintenance of water resources.

In a distinguished achievement, Kuwait ranked first in the Arab and Gulf countries in the Food Security Index for 2020, issued by “The Economist” magazine. Despite falling 6 places from the 2019 ranking, Kuwait obtained 70.7 points in the 2020 index, and this index was based on 4 main factors, which are:

  • Ability to afford food.
  • Food availability.
  • Quality and quality of food.

Natural resources and resilience. The following table shows the points obtained by Kuwait and the Center according to the Economist magazine report:

Indicator Points Center
Food affordability index 82.7 34
Food availability index 68.3 21
Food quality index 86.4 25
Natural resources and resilience index 37.2 103

The following table shows the most important indicators of food security in Kuwait during 2020-2021:

2021 2020 Indicator
2.5% 2.7% Undernourishment index
3371 3420 Availability index (kcal/capita/day)
%136 %138 Saving indicator %
  %23.7 Exploitation index

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