The Ministry of Industry & Advanced Technology (MoIAT) today held the second of its “Future of Industry Dialogue” virtual meetings, to explore how to deliver a resilient food & beverage (F&B) sector in the UAE in the years ahead.
Hosted by His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, the meeting welcomed Her Excellency Mariam Bint Mohammed Hareb Almheiri, UAE Minister of State for Food and Water Security, His Excellency Khadim Al Darei, Vice Chairman of Al Dahra Agriculture, Faraj Ali bin Hamoodah, Chairman of National Food Products Company, Saleh Lootah, Chairman of Foods & Beverages Manufacturing Business Group (FBMG), Densil Quadros, CEO of Freshly Frozen Foods, Remy Ejel, Chairman and CEO of Nestle MENA region, Alan Smith, CEO of Agthia Group, Rizwan Ahmed, Executive Director of IFFCO, Ahmed Belyouha, Chairman of Emirates Macaroni Factory, and Ahmed Bayoumi CEO of Global Food Industries.
During the meeting, His Excellency Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber and Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri discussed how the F&B sector can help deliver the UAE’s food security mandate, act as a catalyst to create jobs and contribute to upskilling and empowering Emirati talent for the future workforce. Participants also showcased their success stories, future plans and areas of development in a post-pandemic world.
The meeting also addressed the solutions required to attract greater levels of investment coming into the sector, efforts to boost UAE exports to regional and global markets, stimulating innovation and adopting advanced technology to improve industrial production systems and solutions, improving productivity and sustainability.
Welcoming participants, His Excellency Dr. Sultan Al Jaber said: “Through the ‘Future of Industry Dialogue’, the ministry seeks to create a platform that contributes to the development of the industrial sector in the UAE and enhance the supply chain of local products locally, regionally and internationally. The UAE’s food & beverage industry is vibrant sector that can be enhanced to play a pivotal role in the post-COVID recovery phase.”
He added: “We aim to boost the contribution of the F&B sector to the country’s GDP in the next decade. This will be achieved by enhancing the quality and competitiveness of local products, which in turn will help increase per capita spending on locally sourced food products.”
Prevailing issues affecting the local and global F&B sector were also addressed during the session, such as the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on global food supply chains and the competitiveness of local production.
In her comments, Her Excellency Mariam Almheiri, UAE Minister of State for Food and Water Security, saidthe food and beverage (F&B) sector is a key pillar of the food security framework in the UAE, and a major contributor to enhancing local production of essential food items.
“The UAE has a well-developed food industry driven by its attractive investment environment,” H.E. said. “The UAE is home to 568 food factories with an annual production capacity of 5.96 million tons. These factories have the ability to triple their production capacity, enabling the UAE to face various conditions by raising its productivity to meet a large part of the market’s needs.”
H.E. Almheiri lauded the critical role that F&B factories are playing during the COVID-19 crisis by maintaining uninterrupted production and supplying markets with various food products. “This demonstrates the strength of this sector and its ability to cope with rapid developments, underlining the tremendous role it will play in all plans to enhance national food security in the years ahead,” she added.
“The current food production systems in the UAE face many challenges in terms of competitiveness and resource consumption,” H.E. explained. “Nevertheless, the UAE is taking action to improve and develop them, which, in turn, helps boost the country’s competitiveness and ensures its future food security. Advanced technology offers many solutions and tools that allow us to reduce our dependence on imports from abroad by increasing local food production.”
“We count on the F&B sector in the country to adopt advanced technologies that are in line with the UAE’s strategies to embed state-of-the-art technology in various vital sectors to enhance food security. We stand ready to work closely with all our stakeholders to remove unnecessary barriers so the food industry can grow and contribute even more to the country’s GDP”.” H.E. Almheiri concluded.
During the meeting, H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber reiterated that the establishment of MoIAT was to lay a strong foundation that enables the UAE’s industrial ecosystem, supports the country’s economic diversification effort and enhances the competitiveness of its local products.
He noted that the MoIAT works diligently towards achieving the UAE’s visionary leadership’s objectives to make the UAE a global destination for advanced industries.
H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber pointed out that the Ministry is set to announce a number of initiatives that will strengthen the F&B sector’s trust in locally manufactured products by implementing a robust standardisation framework. He reaffirmed the Ministry’s intention to leverage advanced technologies in the sector to enhance efficiency and productivity.
The high-level ‘Future of Industry Dialogue’ initiative, a series of ongoing high-level virtual meet-ups, was launched in February 2021 by MoIAT to establish a new collaborative framework to build long-term synergies between government and industry in the UAE.
Reflecting the UAE’s commitment to developing the national industrial ecosystem, the “Future of Industry Dialogue” initiative focuses on identifying and mitigating sector-specific challenges and developing innovative regulatory, logistical, and financing frameworks to drive sustainable industrial development to pave the way for the UAE to achieve its aspirations in a post-COVID-19 world.
February 10, 2021
Abu Dhabi, UAE