FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
As a dynamic city with a pro-business regulatory environment and progressive approach to technology, Dubai is a great location for companies in the food and agriculture sector that are looking to the future. Between a growing population, strong tourist numbers, and an innovative F&B sector, the demand for food production in Dubai is continuing to grow. It is estimated that annual food consumption in the UAE will reach 10.3 million tonnes by 2030, an increase of almost 25 percent from 8.3 million tonnes in 2018. Indeed, this is a growing sector globally with the fresh food packaging market expected to reach US$126 billion by 2025. And Dubai is well positioned to cater to this growth.
Dubai’s food and agriculture sector is built around trade, and the city’s re-export logistics capabilities ensure that companies based here are ready for the global market. The city is the base for large global food manufacturers like Unilever, Hakan Group, and Olam International, as well as ambitious agri-tech start-ups such as Badia Farms, Desert Control and Farmbox.
Increasing the focus on the importance of food security, the UAE established a State Ministry for Food Security for the first time in 2017 that was tasked with building enhanced agricultural and food capabilities in the country. This led to the formation of the UAE National Food Security Strategy 2051 which focuses on diversifying food import sources, identifying alternative sources of supply, and facilitating the global food trade. This is already paying dividends with the UAE jumping 10 places in the Global Food Security Index rankings, from 31st place in 2018 to 21st place in 2019. It’s subsequent aim is to grab the Number 1 position by 2051.
This target will not be met by traditional farming methods alone. Dubai’s appetite for innovation and embracing new technologies has produced an ecosystem that includes methods such as vertical farming, smart farming, hydroponics and aeroponics that will help propel the city into the next phase of agricultural development. These new practices compliment Dubai’s already existing status as a global gateway and re-export hub, efficient logistics and supply chain system and economic and political stability that have made the city an attractive place for food and agriculture companies from around the world.