The yearly food export value from India to the UAE is predicted to jump from $2.5 billion to around $7 billion in the next three years, Indian Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri told Gulf News.
Under the project, the UAE will invest more than $5 billion in India, benefiting two million farmers and creating 200,000 more jobs across India.
India faces the problem of food waste – 30% of its food products go into wastage, while the UAE constantly battle with food security issue. The two countries can thus complement each other in this area.
“Our prime minister suggested (to the UAE leadership) that just as you are our partner in energy security, we could also be your partner in food security,” Suri said.
“It is a very ambitious project, which has been put on the fast track by the leadership in both countries,” he stressed.
To fully utilize India’s agricultural produce, UAE will invest in mega food processing parks, cold storage facilities, warehousing, logistics, and transport. UAE would then buy food from India at a cheaper price.
“The UAE benefits from it and farmers also get a better price,” he explained.
India has repeatedly expressed interest to be UAE’s food security partner.
“If we can find ways to preserve the percentage of wasted food in India it could meet the needs of all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries,” Suri said in May this year.
For a start, the project will focus on trading 20 types of food, such as cereals, vegetables, fruits, and poultry – items that the UAE import in large quantities.
Food would be sourced from central and western states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat, as it is easier to access to the UAE via ports on the Indian west coast.
Besides India, UAE has also expressed interest to strengthen food and agricultural production partnership with Egypt.
To achieve food security, the UAE will launch the National Strategy for Future Food Security next month.
To prepare for the strategy, UAE’s Minister of State for Future Food Security Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri had visited several countries to learn from their food innovation experience.