UAE’s ambitions on track to stay food secure

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: United arab emirates

New estimates suggest that the Middle East will consume nearly 60m tonnes of food annually by 2050 due to soaring population growth, putting pressure on governments to find ways to secure their supplies.

That’s according to Dubai-based Alpen Capital, which has put an annual average population growth rate of 3.5% until that year.

At the same time, the United Nations estimates the global population will have reached 9.7bn—an average annual increase of 83m a year—and predicts food supplies will have to have increased by 60% to sustain consumption.

Experts believe the strategy Dubai has adopted will go some way to helping maintain regional food supplies in the face of this substantial population growth. 

Boosted by its strategic geographical location, modern infrastructure, sociopolitical stability and commitment to economic investment, Dubai has moved to the forefront of the international food supply chain, says Trixie LohMirmand, who heads up Gulfood Manufacturing, a trade show which takes place in the emirate at the end of this month.

Dubai’s location, stability and infrastructure support the food processing sector and food export trade. The world’s leading food industry providers view Dubai as a preferred destination to both house and grow their global business​,” she said.

Backed by a leadership seeking to diversify the country’s economy—the food trade currently accounts for 11% of the UAE’s GDP—Dubai has assumed a crucial role from manufacturing, processing and packaging, to re-exports and the growing importance of food security. 

Meanwhile the UAE is already the world’s biggest re-exporter of rice, accounting for 81% of global trade.

Government-backed initiatives such as Dubai Wholesale City and Dubai Food Park, and private sector investment—highlighted by halal producer Al Islami’s US$27.2m facility at Dubai Investment Park, BRF US$150m plant and Abu Dhabi's National Food’s US$411m facility at the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi—have further cemented the UAE’s increasingly influential role in the food supply chain.

Government and private sector investment in the industry complement Gulfood Manufacturing as all major stakeholders continue to work together in Dubai’s quest to become the primary hub in the global food production value chai​n,” said LohMirmand.

Related topics: Markets, Middle East, Industry growth

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