The Growing Organic Food Movement in the Middle East
The awareness regarding health and the environment has been mounting in the past decade in various regions all over the world, further increasing the popularity of organic food, agriculture and everything else related to it. But little is heard about this in the Arab region, making so many believe that it is practically non-existent there.
History, Strict Tradition Plays a Huge Role in Middle Eastern Agriculture
The religious beliefs in this part of the world affect the lives of the Arabs a great deal. Their traditions are so etched into the everyday lives of the people that those dictate what they eat and how they eat it. This is possibly the reason why it would be very difficult to shift to something ‘new’ – and the organic movement is definitely something new for a lot of Middle Easterners.
Healthier Options for Healthier Lives
Anyone who has tried the cuisine in this region would not deny the fact that it is very delicious; take for example the famous Shawarma of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or the bevy of lamb stews in other parts of the region. No one can also deny the fact that most of their dishes are so high in calories, often dripping in fat.
With obesity and related diseases emerging in this region – even becoming a huge problem just as it is in America – choosing healthier food options is in a lot of peoples’ minds.
According to a manager of a restaurant in Saudi Arabia, diners are looking for ‘organic’ food options – even in their pizzas! It would really seem that the Western idea of ‘wellness’ is gradually spreading in this part of the globe.
Younger Generation of Arabs Got the Ball Rolling
Admittedly, this growing awareness of organic culture (farming to eating) has emerged from young Arab minds which are more open to different ideas – particularly those which are so popular in the West.
But with the other advantages which can be reaped from going all-organic, even the governments of the different Arab countries are joining this remarkable bandwagon. The SOFA or Saudi Organic Farming Association, just a few years back, created a food label which will stamp organic produce as such – very much like the one used by the USDA.
This kind of undertaking is quite modest compared to what so many other countries – especially those in Europe – have been doing for decades now. But as some experts have said, it is a great thing that health and environmental consciousness is starting in the Middle East as it will develop further into better things.
Organic Movement in Arab Nations
So aside from Saudi Arabia, what exactly is going on in the other Arab countries when it comes to going organic? Read on…
In the United Arab Emirates, lands dedicated to organic farming has increased to 15% from 2007. This shows how serious the country is when it comes to the organic movement.
The same is true in Qatar. Although there is just one farm that is internationally certified when it comes to organic farming, this is currently undergoing expansion as well to ensure that they can provide the much-desired produce to markets, restaurants and households.
A huge organic farming and market expo is being planned in Bahrain, specifically in the island of Nabih Saleh. All products which will be sold are free of chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
Kuwait, a country known for the massive use of aforementioned chemical pesticides and fertilizers, is also now undergoing agricultural transformation to safeguard the health of farm workers and consumers.
Aside from food produce, Oman is also spreading their organic awareness to cleaning products and other household items.
All these undertakings focused on going organic are truly tremendous, putting Middle East in the worldwide organic map and ensuring the health and well-being of its people.