By Muntaha Al-Fadhli

KUWAIT, Dec 22 (KUNA) -- Kuwait pays great attention towards achieving food security; following a strategic plan aiming to create sustainable food sources and develop the economy.
According to statements by food security experts told KUNA on Tuesday, Kuwait is considered as one of the top countries in the field around the world, as it came in the 28th place among 109 countries in 2014, shown by international food security statistics. Moreover, the country is number one in food security in the Arab World.
Kuwait is continuously cooperating with the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to execute projects in the field and develop agricultural sustainability, said Minister of Public Works and Minister of State for Assembly Affairs Ali Al-Omair.
The country has reached a high level of food security, despite the difficulties faced in agriculture due to the lack of water sources, the minister added.
On his part, chairman of the ministerial committee for food security investment Mohammad Al-Monaifi said that Kuwait has followed strategic plans that enabled it to achieve security in accordance with the 1996 World Food Summit measures. According to summit, food security is "when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life", Al-Monaifi explained.
Meanwhile, committee member Methqal Al-Sartawi noted that prices of food products depends on international markets' prices, the exchange rate of currencies and the costs of importing and exporting.
He stressed on the vital role of Kuwait Investment Authority to develop food security by investing in top international food companies and engaging in foreign investments in the field of agricultural industries.
The member also said that the authority has set plans to allow the private sector to transfer and manage food reserves in emergency cases.
In the same context, Acting Director General of Kuwait's Public Authority for Agriculture and Fish Resources Affairs (PAAFRA) Faisal Al-Hasawi said that the authority's priority is to develop the agricultural field despite the extreme dessert climate in Kuwait and the lack of arable lands and water resources.

Arable lands in Kuwait are estimated at one million and 540 hectares (about 8.63 percent of total land space), said Al-Hasawi, adding that there is about 4.9 percent of these lands that is still not used.
He pointed out that the Authority is increasing domestic agricultural production and improving the performance of the agricultural sector to raise productivity by developing efficient methods use of the available agricultural areas and expansion of the capacities of the acquisition of agricultural technology.
Al-Hasawi added that the Public Authority of Agriculture Affairs also provides the right conditions for financing and investment in local agricultural field and encourage foreign agricultural investment by taking advantage of the investment opportunities available in the Arab region.
He pointed out that the authority sought to develop systems for importing and exporting food in order to ensure the provision of a strategic inventory covers the needs of the population for at least six months.
He stressed the importance of supporting the local livestock breeders in order to ease the financial burden on the fancier for the costs of production and to provide food for their animals, which represents about 70 percent of the costs of any livestock project.
He added that the Authority started the (Integrated Farm) project to increase the production of white meat by allocate about 185 lots in Al-Wafra agricultural area and 8 lots for poultry farming.
He noted that the support policy in the fisheries sector aims to preserve fishery resources and protection from poaching operations as well as encouraging the expansion of aquaculture.
He stated that the capture fisheries are based on fish stocks that make them limited where the territorial waters control them in addition to the biological characteristics of the fish stocks, which means that any increase in production without controls lead to a deterioration in fish stocks and affect the sustainable production.
For his part, the Director of the Department of Agricultural Extension at the (PAAAFR) Ghanem Al-Sanad pointed to the enrichment of the natural fish stocks project in Kuwait territorial waters, stressing that such a move would provide the protection of fish stocks from depletion and contribute to sustainable development.
He pointed to other projects such as fish farming in sea cages Project in Khairan on 10 square kilometers of maritime site and 2,000 square kilometers of the coastal site, as well as breeding and farming fish and shrimp projects.
He said that all the actions taken by the authority is in the direction of maintaining stocks of fish and shrimp , adding that fishing bans have been applied during the breeding season to ensure the sustainability of production.
He said that fish farming has contributed to bridging the gap between production from capture fisheries and domestic consumption of fish and shrimp, where authority has allocate 10 lots for fish and shrimp cultivation with an area of 20,000 square meters for each lot in Al-Wafra agricultural area.
For his part, the head of the Kuwaiti Farmers Union Hadi Al-Watari stressed that food security in Kuwait cannot be achieved without local farming to ensure the provision of the consumer's need, praising the direct support of the Public Authority of Agriculture Affairs to farmers.(end)