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GCC’s food production deficit at US$ 25.8 billion in 2010; regional governments offer incentives for private investors and food manufacturers.
Abu Dhabi, UAE, 22 November 2011: The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) is hosting one-to-one investment meetings in Abu Dhabi this week for investors and food manufacturers hoping to set up food businesses in the region.
In partnership with Abu Dhabi Department for Economic Development (DED), and the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD), UNIDO’s Investment and Technology Promotion Office (ITPO) are organising the investment meetings between technology suppliers, investors and food & beverage companies to facilitate manufacturing operations in the Middle East and to develop joint investment opportunities.
Currently taking place at SIAL Middle East until 23 November at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), the industrial investment meetings are designed to encourage investment in food manufacturing in the region, and in doing so reducing reliance on imports, contributing to food security in the region, and creating more jobs.
The Department of Economic Development is setting up dedicated agencies to support exports from homegrown companies as well as attracting foreign investment into Abu Dhabi. Its services are part of the value-proposition of the UAE capital as a global investment location.
UNIDO confirmed that 50 companies have signed up to have meetings with top industrialists and investors from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman, looking for new manufacturing projects in the food industry.
With full backing from regional governments, potential investors and manufacturers are being offered economic incentives to set up operations in the region, including grants to simplified long term loans at no interest, access to land, subsidised electricity, and tax exemption.
“Nationally manufactured products will receive government help in export and priority in public tenders,” said Dr Hasshim Hussein, Head of UNIDO ITPO Bahrain, who was at SIAL Middle East today.
“The GCC region’s food production deficit now stands at US$ 25.8 billion,” added Hussein. “As food consumption continues to grow coupled with growing consumer preferences toward processed and packaged convenience foods, there are substantial opportunities for manufacturing companies and investors to establish and expand operations in the region.”
Held in strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, SIAL Middle East 2011 is part of SIAL Group, the world’s largest network of professional B2B food exhibitions which include SIAL Paris, SIAL China, SIAL Canada, and SIAL Brazil.
Mohamed Jalal Al Reyaysa, Director of Communication and Community Services, Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, said that one of the growing food consumption trends in the GCC region is a preference to more processed foods including canned and frozen food, health and functional foods, baked goods and cereals.
“Processed foods currently account for half of the total food market in the GCC,” said Al Reyaysa. “The industrial development of the food sector is today a national priority for countries across the Gulf region. UNIDO’s participation at SIAL Middle East is important, especially in the context of current initiatives toward increasing food security in the region.
“Encouraging the domestic food processing industry in the GCC region will go a long way to reducing the reliance of imports, at the same time diversifying regional economies.”
More than 500 food and equipment manufacturers and suppliers are exhibiting at SIAL Middle East 2011, including national pavilions from Turkey, Argentina, Korea, China, Taiwan, Iran, France, Italy, Vietnam, Thailand, USA, Pakistan, Tunisia and the UAE. 70 % of these companies are exhibiting for the first time in the region.
The region’s most dynamic event for the professional food industry also features a three-day conference, bringing together regional and international experts addressing key challenges and opportunities facing the food industry. The first day focus was the Food Retail Forum, in association with Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & industry (ADCCI).
Sana Toukan, Research Manager for Euromonitor Middle East; Jean Luc Grazziato, VP Marketing & Sourcing for Carrefour Saudi; and Abah Ofon, Soft Analyst at Standard Chartered Bank discussed prospects for food retail, challenges and solution for food prices, and food imports and exports in the Middle East region.
Returning also is the Hosted Buyer Programme, where 500 pre-registered and qualified food, beverage and equipment buyers network with relevant exhibitors to facilitate business through pre-arranged one-to-one meetings. For more information and to register, go to www.sialme.com