By Ghadeer Ghloum
KUWAIT: Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) organized an event titled “Using Aerobic and Vertical Farming Techniques to Support Food Sufficiency in the State of Kuwait” on Monday. Engineer Hussain Al-Hilal, program officer of the flagship farming project, told Kuwait Times that after working with his colleagues in 2020, they identified food security as part of the new strategy of KFAS.
“After the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, food security became one of the main priority sectors. The pandemic was an opportune time to look into what Kuwait is doing with regards to food security. We put out a big call for practical solutions, and asked people working in the research field and the private sector what type of technologies can be transferred to Kuwait to help us become more sustainable in food security,” Hilal said.
He said the flagship farm is one of the most interesting and successful projects in Kuwait today, referring to some of its main advantages. “Today is more about showcasing the success of the project that we funded. It’s a pilot project we have built in Wafra. The farm was extremely successful in reducing the amount of water and space required, as well as increasing productivity and reducing costs at the same time. Based on this, we want to spread this information among people so that people know that this technology exists, is affordable and can really help Kuwait in terms of food security,” Hilal said.
The event further highlighted the project’s positive impact on food security in Kuwait and its finer outcomes compared to traditional agriculture methods, being an aerobic and vertical farm. In cooperation with the Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources, the Environment Public Authority, Societies Union, Farmers Union, Kuwait University, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Ministry of Education, Kuwait Municipality and Ministry of Public Works, alongside private sector businesses such as farms and restaurants, BeOrganic set up this project in Wafra, where encouraging results were seen.
Engineer Rashid Buruzq said this is an American technology that brings two advanced techniques together in agriculture – vertical farming, which takes up less space; and aerobic farming, which doesn’t need soil, as the roots are hanging in the air, which provide perfect ventilation and more of the needed oxygen.
Engineer Mahmoud Juma’a said the study included building 140 farming towers spread over 300 sq m, producing around 9,200 products in only a month. He said this project has proven that it can produce more than traditional farming techniques by approximately 800 percent, besides the fact that it saves water usage by 92 percent, is free of insecticides, does not need professional workers and does not require a lot of maintenance. Juma’a added a pump is provided to provide the crops with 100 percent natural minerals as a source of nutrition. He confirmed that crops can be planted any time of the year regardless of the season, as the project provides the perfect conditions for crops to grow.
Deputy Director General for Strategic Programs at KFAS Khawla Al-Shayji said that food security is a priority issue in KFAS’ 2022-2024 strategy, as the world is facing challenges to secure food. She also pointed out that KFAS recently launched an invitation to provide suggestions to activate its role in sustainable development, is part of the state’s 2035 vision.
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