Environment and Economy of Kuwait

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Environment and Economy of Kuwait Kuwait is not self-sufficient in agriculture but the country will be in the future. Its production of cereals, vegetables and fruit grown in the oasis of Jahra and scattered smallholdings is not sufficient for the population's needs, due to limitations of water supply, fertile soil, climate and manpower. Much of its food needs to be imported but government investment and the work of the Kuwait Experimental farm have led to improvements whereby existing resources are more efficiently utilized. Kuwait is a small arid desert land of about 6200 square miles. There is virtually no natural source of fresh water. Climatic conditions entail occasional high winds and dust storms, little or no rainfall, and summer temperatures as high as 120øF. "Consequently, arable land amounts to less than 9% of total acreage."1 Soil deficiencies and the intense heat and sunlight allow continued cultivation only by expensive underground pipe-fed irrigation or by hydroponics. Ordinary irrigation under these conditions results in gradually increasing soil salinity. this phenomenon has been the cause of the estimated 1% annual decrease in arable land for the region as a whole. Hence, development of traditional agriculture is severely restricted. Kuwaitis are under no illusion that self-sufficiency will take less than 20 to 30 years to attain and even then it cannot include such items as beef and cereals. For Kuwait cereal production is considered too expensive and unnecessary. Self-sufficiency in poultry, vegetables and fruit is a visible goal: already Kuwait produces 60% of the eggs it needs, 40% of the poultry meat and 100% of the tomatoes. The next emphasis is likely to be on dairy farming and animal husbandry to increase the 25% of the required milk supplies that is produced in the country. The Kuwaitis are very conscious of the fact that urban growth and the hunting of animals which used to live in the desert has meant the virtual extinction of wildlife. Kuwait is importing from many countries animals such as cows, chickens and sheep. In view of Kuwait's extremely unpromising natural environment which was made even worse after the Persian Gulf War, the key to all its hopes for self-sufficiency lies in research and experiments. Their experimental farm research farm:Omariya, the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research and the Kuwait Fund for the Advancement of Sciences are engaged in a variety of projects concerned with the hybridization of plants, animal breeding, the increase of yields in desert conditions, the treatment of brackish water and effluent water, irrigation methods, etc.

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