The forum featured insightful sessions on India and the UAE, aimed to fortify food security and sustainability through cross-border collaboration.

The Future Food Forum, the Middle East’s largest annual gathering of industry leaders, began 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 event 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, emphasised the need for international collaboration. “We are changing the future of our own citizens for the better through partnerships between countries like India and the UAE,” Khambatta asserted. He also emphasised the need of the India, Middle East, and Europe Corridor in establishing a common free market. Mr Piruz Khambatta also chaired a panel discussion.

Future Food Forum Dubai 2023

Minaz Alam, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing and Industry, Government of India, emphasised India’s commitment to food processing and the importance of India-UAE collaboration. “Collaborative efforts between India and the UAE can lead to the development of efficient logistics networks, cold storage facilities, and food processing units,” said Alam. 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, which is slated for November and is expected to draw significant numbers of investors, corporate executives, and stakeholders from around the world. 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 stated 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 Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme, through which incentives are provided to the industry to encourage increased levels of processing and value addition. The goal of this initiative is to build modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management from farms 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.

Photo courtesy : UAE News 247 and DD News.

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