Unido hosts food investment meetings
Abu Dhabi, November 22, 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) is organising the meetings between technology suppliers, investors and food and beverage companies to facilitate manufacturing operations in the Middle East and develop joint investment opportunities.
Currently taking place at Sial Middle East until November 23 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 reduce reliance on imports, contributing to food security in the region, and creating more jobs.
The DED is setting up dedicated agencies to support exports from home grown 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 has confirmed that 50 companies have signed up for the meetings with top industrialists and investors from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.
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 (November 22).
“The GCC region’s food production deficit now stands at $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, one of the world’s largest networks 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,” he said.
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, US, Pakistan, Tunisia and UAE. From these companies 70 percent are exhibiting for the first time.
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’s focus was on the Food Retail Forum, in association with Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & industry (ADCCI).
Sana Toukan, research manager for Euro monitor Middle East; Jean Luc Grazziato, vice president of marketing & sourcing for Carrefour Saudi; and Abah Ofon, software 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. – TradeArabia News Service