Chairman of the Kuwait Farmers Union Abdullah Al- Damak has called for the reopening of the airport in order to allow the entry of farmworkers as soon as possible, reports Aljarida daily. In a press statement, he explained that the local agricultural production is suffering from severe paralysis. The scarcity of manpower may lead to the suspension of several agricultural activities in the coming period. This will have negative impacts on productive farmers and the prices of agricultural products.
Al-Damak appealed to the Cabinet to create a mechanism to allow the return of farmworkers to the country and to allow them to be quarantined inside the farms, as well as allocate a medical team to vaccinate them. He stressed that a specific method must be in place to ensure the farmers are saved from the huge losses they incur. Al-Damak revealed that the total number of workers in the agricultural sector has reached 500,000 but 75 percent of them, which is approximately 375,000 workers, are outside the country, and there is no clear vision about their return.
He went on to explain that the agricultural areas are usually remote sites far away from the city center and residential areas. This contributes to the application of the health requirements especially not mixing with the general population. The agricultural sector is entering into losses that cannot be estimated as a result of a matter that can be resolved by setting a timetable that does not exceed two weeks. The crisis of labor scarcity has led to the existence of a black market, a rise in transfer rates, or the assignment of labor registered on farms, in addition to the high wages. Al-Damak added that “During normal times before the COVID-19 pandemic, it would take four to six months to ensure workers from abroad would reach Kuwait. Under the current global conditions due to the COVID-19 crisis, this matter could take much longer than that”.