Potential for food self-sufficiency improvements through indoor and vertical farming in the gulf cooperation council: Challenges and opportunities from the case of Kuwait

Meshal J. Abdullah, Zhengyang Zhang, Kazuyo Matsubae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are considered food secure due to their ability to import sufficient food to meet their populations’ demand, despite considerable environmental limitations to conventional agriculture. However, over-reliance on externally produced food leaves these countries vulnerable to food shortages during crises that disrupt international production and shipping. Advanced Controlled Environment Agriculture technology has the potential to improve food self-sufficiency by multiplying vegetable crop yields while optimizing efficiency of agricultural inputs and minimizing land requirements. This paper demonstrates how approximately 15 km2 of indoor farms or less than 0.1 km2 of vertical farms could reduce or eliminate the need to import six important vegetable crops in the State of Kuwait. If properly contextualized and supported by clear legislation and well-managed regulatory bodies, indoor agriculture initiatives may provide a pathway for GCC countries to reduce their dependence on imported foods and increase resilience to food supply disruption during disasters or conflict. This case study contextualizes the need for improved food self-sufficiency in light of vulnerabilities from regional and global threats, illuminates unique challenges faced by GCC countries considering adoption of the proposed technologies, and summarizes opportunities inherent in the current legal and policy framework.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12553
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume13
Issue number22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Nov 1

Keywords

  • Controlled environment agriculture (CEA)
  • Food security
  • Food sovereignty
  • Soilless cultivation
  • Urban agriculture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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