Dubai takes on sustainable FOOD SUPPLY Challenge in the region

Published: Monday, December 19, 2016

With minimal arable land, dependency on food imports has become the norm in many countries in the Middle East. But as the region’s population grows amid shrinking resources, food security will become a major challenge in the future.

And Dubai, which has been in the forefront of creating opportunities and possibilities in the region, is seeking to address this issue by making it the preferred manufacturing platform for global businesses and Islamic food products market under the long-term Dubai Industrial Strategy Program.

Mark Napier, Exhibitions Director at DWTC and Show Director at Gulfood Manufacturing, says the region’s food industry is so big that in the UAE alone, the food and beverage sector is projected to grow to $13.2 billion by 2018.

“The growth will be driven by new outlets opening and tourist numbers growing in-line with the emirate’s targets. Across the GCC region, the food retailing market is also thriving and is estimated to be worth US$155 billion by 2018, according to a recent Frost & Sullivan analysis,” Napier told Air Cargo Update in an email interview.

The British advertising and events executive, who decided to live in Dubai eight years ago after seeing it for the first time on a family holiday, said the growth in domestic food manufacturing will spur market demand for equipment used in the food processing and packaging sectors, which will ultimately generate economic activities in related industries like freight, cargo and logistics.

“The GCC packaged food industry was valued at US$25 billion in 2013 and is projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.5% till 2018. Initiatives such as Dubai’s Industrial Strategy will only underline that growth,” said Napier.

Napier explained the Dubai Industrial Strategy aims to help generate more than 27,000 jobs and an additional AED160 billion in the emirate’s economy by 2030.

“Among the objectives in Phase One of the strategy are increasing total output and value-addition of the manufacturing sector; enhancing the depth of knowledge and innovation; making Dubai the preferred manufacturing platform for global businesses; promoting environ-mentally-friendly & energy-efficient manufacturing systems; and making Dubai the centre for the global Islamic products market,” he said.

And that is where Gulfood Manuf-acturing, held last November, came into play.

The show provided tailored sourcing, procurement and networking for business to stay ahead of the technological curve, conduct business and ultimately, improve operational efficiency and high-quality production.

This year’s show has grown 20 percent in size compared to the previous year as more exhibitors participated. Napier said they welcomed exhibitors from 52 countries and 29 official national pavilions, including first-time pavilion participation from Russia, Switzerland, Ireland, Indonesia and Ukraine.

The show brought together the region’s leading production, foodservice, retail, logistics and transportation players for two days’ of intensive education sessions, as well as dedicated time to build new business relationships and explore best practices.

And all agree Dubai’s business friendly and technology-driven manufacturing sector is ready to take on the region’s food security challenges.