Dubai, September 21, 2023:
The Future Food Forum, the Middle East’s largest annual gathering of industry leaders, kicked off on September 21 with a focus on regional food security, sustainability, innovation, and consumer well-being discussions. Industry titans, government officials, and business leaders from across the globe descended upon Dubai for this milestone event.
The forum featured insightful sessions on India and UAE, tackling critical topics such as the India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and the growing investment trends in food tech startups. These discussions aimed to fortify food security and sustainability through cross-border collaboration.
Piruz Khambatta, Chairman of the CII Food Processing Committee, highlighted the need for international partnerships. “By partnerships between countries like India and UAE, we are changing the future of our own citizens for the better,” Khambatta declared. He also underscored the significance of the India, Middle East, Europe Corridor in creating a common free market. Mr Piruz Khambatta alos led a panel discussion
Minaz Alam, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing and Industry, Government of India, emphasized India’s commitment to food processing and the role of collaborative efforts between India and the UAE. “Collaborative efforts between India and UAE can lead to the development of efficient logistics networks, cold storage facilities, and food processing units,” Alam stated. He highlighted the importance of reducing post-harvest losses and ensuring quality produce reaches the market promptly.
Mr Alam also spoke about the rising global interest in traditional foods like millets, promoting nutritional security. He mentioned the upcoming World Food India event, scheduled for November, which is set to be a monumental congregation of global investors, business leaders, and stakeholders. He also emphasized that the Ministry of Food Processing in India has been diligently working to drive the seamless growth of the food processing sector to its full potential. He declared that the Ministry is conscious of the many opportunities available in the sector and is acting as a catalyst to drive its growth to its fullest capacity.
He highlighted the Production Incentive Scheme, through which incentives are provided to the industry to encourage increased levels of processing and value addition. This initiative aims to create modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management from farm to retail outlets. He also discussed the importance of strengthening Indian brands for global visibility and wider acceptance in international markets, stressing that robust and resilient supply chains are crucial for ensuring food security.The delegation from India included senior officials of the Ministry of Food Processing and Industries , and from CII.
Inaugurated by Abdulla Al Saleh, Undersecretary of Foreign Trade and Industry at the UAE Ministry of Economy, the forum’s theme “Inspiring Sustainable Well-being” set the stage for a series of compelling discussions aimed at reinforcing self-reliant food supplies and leveraging agri-tech to enhance food security in the Middle East.
Saleh Lootah, Chairman of the UAE Food & Beverage Business Group, welcomed the attendees, emphasizing the pivotal moment for the regional F&B sector. He stated, “It is a pivotal moment for the F&B sector in the region, one where the sector is taking a new strategic direction to ensure UAE’s position as the regional food hub of excellence.”
The Future Food Forum promises to be a catalytic event for the entire food industry, fostering dialogue and partnerships that will shape the future of food security, sustainability, and innovation in the Middle East and beyond. As discussions continue, experts and leaders from diverse backgrounds come together with a shared commitment to inspire sustainable well-being through food.
Vinod Kumar (UAE)