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Kuwait’s Future – a return to the Sea?
May 12, 2018, 2:44 pm
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Long time ago, I studied law and ever since I have been active in diplomacy and political issues. In doing so, I made myself believe that this really could change the world. However, more and more I reach the conclusion that in reality the progress of mankind depends on technological innovations. Aircraft, television, internet, these were all crucial game changers and they guided us to the future more than diplomats and politicians could ever do.

Kuwait, as is the whole of the Gulf-region, is facing tremendous changes the coming decennia. The oil-based economy will disappear. Nobody knows how many years this will take, but for sure the next generation will live in a completely new economy and society. The Vision 2035 of His Highness the Amir is not an abstract, hypothetical scenario, but a compelling, and maybe even painful model of change.

The Dutch have always been active in this region of the world and in order to cope with the upcoming challenges our scientists and researchers are coming with bright, sometimes revolutionary, ideas.

Earlier this month, a seminar was organized together with the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR), and it was amazing how Kuwaiti and Dutch agronomists, researchers and business people were brainstorming.

Two-thirds of the surface of the world is water. We hardly make use of these unlimited resources. Compared to our land areas, both the Netherlands and Kuwait have an extended coastline. The theme of KISR-seminar was cultivating seaweed in the adjacent sea. This could be done very easily. All ingredients, water, nutrition,  seed material, are already present: once you organize the system well, you can harvest all year round.

Some people have seaweed already in their daily diet, like the Japanese.  Healthy as it is, sooner or later we all should have a go at this perfect source of minerals and proteins. But as long as we do not take it on our pizza or hamburger, at least we should feed our cattle with it: 50 gram of seaweed makes a cow produces one and a half liter milk more. Honestly, if we have to nourish at the end of the century a doubled world population, we have to take full advantage of the hidden treasures of the sea.

The seaweed seminar made me happy. There is nowadays so much doom and gloom about climate change, the environment, overpopulation and the like. But the kind of bright ideas as presented at the KISR seminar gave me confidence that our scientists and researchers will at the end find solutions we could not have dreamed of some years ago, fantastic!

As ambassador here in Kuwait, it makes me proud that Kuwaitis are showing a genuine interest in all these new techniques developed in Holland. We are sharing our expertise. We invite young Kuwaitis to come to our universities to study the three topics in which the Netherlands are world leader: Energy, Water and Agriculture. More than that: combining these three fields could result in surprising solutions, like the cultivation of seaweed.

Agriculture in the sea, an unbelievable development for Holland, Kuwait and the World!

 

By H.E. Frans Potuyt

Ambassador of The Netherlands to Kuwait

Exclusive to The Times, Kuwait

 

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