Mideast ‘investing in innovative farming’
Dubai, February 10, 2010
The Middle East is investing heavily in innovative farming methods in a bid to reduce growing dependence on the rest of the world for up to 90 per cent of food needs, said the organisers of an upcoming agri-business trade event.
Agra Middle East, running from March 29 to 31 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, will cover five closely linked sectors – agribusiness; poultry and livestock; fishing and aquaculture; floriculture and the newly launched machinery and supplies.
“Growing concerns over food security have pushed countries in the Arabian Gulf to seek solutions to arid land problems,” said Goutam Malhotra, exhibition manager for Agra Middle East.
As a world food crisis bites harder, one solution has been buying up large tracts of land in developing nations to secure food supplies.
The International Food Policy Research Institute shows the Middle East as one of the biggest land investor regions, buying up 1,149,000 hectares of land in Pakistan, the Philippines and Africa in the last three years.
“As environmental issues around the world reduce crop production, however, the GCC and wider Middle East countries are also looking at alternate methods to introduce at home to reduce dependence on the rest of the world for 90 per cent of their food needs,” Malhotra said.
“Innovative solutions in the agriculture sector are in great demand in the region and Agra Middle East brings together leading decision makers in one place at one time.
“Livestock needs are of great importance but to maintain a healthy herd, fodder of high quality is required which is rarely found in this arid region. As a response to this, there has been greater interest in high-tech systems for the production of animal feed and rearing livestock.”
A new machinery and supplies sector has been introduced at Agra Middle East this year because of the growing market for agricultural machinery and technology in the region.
“GCC countries are investing millions of dollars in local and foreign advanced technology to improve agriculture practices,” Malhotra added.
“This particular sector will focus on manufacturers of agricultural machinery and equipment for irrigation, sowing, harvesting, soil processing.”
The poultry industry in the region has seen significant growth over the last decade but increasing population and expansion of the hospitality industry has led to increased imports of poultry and livestock products from other countries, including Brazil and Australia.
“Factors such as the increasing food security concerns and extensive support from governments have led to a resurgence of the domestic industry, however,” said Malhotra.
“As the GCC countries explore options to grow their poultry and livestock sector, it is an excellent chance for relevant product manufacturers and service providers to capitalise on this opportunity.”
Fishing and aquaculture is also an important element of Agra Middle East.
“As a pioneer in aquaculture among the countries of the GCC, the UAE is endowed with many natural lagoons, bays and creeks, some of which are encircled by mangrove swamps providing ideal spawning and nursery grounds for a wide variety of fish and shrimp species,” Malhotra noted.
“Aquaculture concerns like Marine Resources Research Centre and the International Fish Farming Company (Asmak) are leading the development of this sector in the region.
To further develop their aquaculture sector, GCC countries are seeking the latest technology from manufacturers worldwide."
“Gardening and landscaping are also growing at an estimated annual rate of 12 per cent in the GCC region with multi-million dollar beautification projects. The growth in the hospitality sector coupled by rapid construction across the region promises rewards for companies exhibiting at the flower and garden sector of Agra Middle East," Malhotra concluded.
VET Middle East, a dedicated event for the growing veterinary market in the Middle East, will be co-located with Agra Middle East presenting the latest veterinary technologies, equipment, medicines and services. – TradeArabia News Service