Demand for organic food and public perception in the state of Kuwait: A Comparison of conventional and organic vegetable produce quality

Abdirashid O Elmi, Alfred K. Anderson, Amna A. Albinali


Kuwait, like other GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries, depends almost entirely on food imports for the national food security with all the associated risks. There is a growing realization for the exigent necessity to enhance domestic production and local farmers are adopting farming system they perceive as organic. This study was designed to investigate nutritive values and safety of organic produce compared to conventionally grown vegetable crops sold in Kuwait supermarkets. Findings indicated lower total phosphorus (TP) and higher total nitrogen (TN) in the organic than in conventional vegetable samples. Higher concentrations of some trace metals, essential or not, were measured in organic crops than in conventional crops. Accompanying public perception survey of organic products in Kuwait indicated willingness of the public to spend more money to consume organic produce because of the perception of healthiness and safety. People showed preferences to consume more organic food if grown locally with reasonable price. There is a massive demand for organic agriculture in Kuwait, requiring transfer of knowledge on specific standards and methods of organic food production system. Consequently, organic agriculture can be a proven solution of feeding the people in a healthy and environmentally sustainable manner. While local farmers perceive their production system as completely organic, the absence of well-defined certification standards and regulations are non-existent. Therefore, existing domestic farming system can best be described as organic by tradition.


Keywords: Farming systems, organic food, heavy metals, food market, sustainability.

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