‘Hidden war harming nat’l produce’
KUWAIT CITY, Nov 26: The demands of Kuwaiti farmers are genuine in light of their assertion of a hidden war aimed at harming the national produce that supports local food security, calling for justice on the difference in prices of local agricultural produce from farmers who sell their products cheap to middlemen, while they reach consumers at high prices, reports Al-Seyassah daily.
Farmers consider middlemen the main reason for the vast difference in prices, in addition to setting a lower price for each product, where auction starts from the cost price and done by a joint committee between the Ministry of Commerce and Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources – with a group of farmers to determine the minimum price for each produce separately. Many of them also demand that auction should start at the same time in Andalous and Sulaibiya in the presence of representatives from the Ministry of Commerce to monitor auctions.
They wanted the announcement of prices done officially by the Ministry of Commerce with rationing of imported produce, especially at the peak of the local produce. The cooperative societies should buy directly from the auction while appointing a Kuwaiti retiree to serve as delegate from the same area for each association to attend the auction.
Regarding these and other demands, farmer Abdullah Al-Thuwamer touched on the issue of sweet and irrigation water, especially in the farms, stating dire need of the farmers for sweet water.
He regretted that Ministry of Electricity and Water has raised the price of water to 70 percent above its old price, which has affected the agricultural process. He noted the procedure is not in favor of Kuwaiti farmers.
Al-Thuwamer called on the federation to play its role in confronting the problem, and that the price of water sold to farmers should match the old price. Farmers who are producers should be taken into consideration, as they struggle to produce and contribute to local food security, especially as treated water is not sufficient and not always accessible to the farmers. He added that farmers now lack Farmers Diwaniya where a number of useful events were organized for all Kuwaiti farmers, poultry farmers, livestock owners and beekeepers.
He disclosed that the Farmers Federation has shut down the place and converted it to a warehouse. For his part, farmer Mansour Al-Ajmi said: demands of the farmers are mainly three, namely electricity, water and marketing. Electricity reaches the farms in Abdali but not on a regular basis, and there are many interruptions, especially in bad weather conditions, because the power transformers that feed agricultural areas in Abdali are very old and require mobile transformers, as well as power lines.
Another farmer in Al-Wafra Saleh Al-Otaibi declared his wish to establish farmers market two days a week, so that consumers can see the quality of farm produce. He stressed that the loose situation in the auction caused low prices of products forcing some farmers to stop. He added that low prices of products in the auction that are high in cooperative societies shows the market is not subject to supply and demand, but monopoly.
He reiterated that more than 25 Kuwaiti middlemen who are ready to receive the auction must provided a market, demanding fruit and vegetable markets in Al-Raqqa and Shuwaikh that have been closed to be reopened and handed over to productive farmers.