A US $1.5 billion (AED5.5b) Dubai Food Park project is to be developed within the 550-million square foot Dubai Wholesale City, according to a series of tweets by the Dubai Media Office.
The new project was launched in the presence of Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and is set to enhance the emirate’s competitiveness as “leading regional hub in the food sector and food stuffs re-exports”.
In a series of tweet, the Dubai Media Office said that the modern and integrated food park will provide all food-related services under one umbrella.
“The food park will be unique for its strategic location and ease of access through all marine, air and land ports,” it said.
No details were given on when will work start on the project, but the presence of Sheikh Mohammed at the announcement underscores the strategic importance of the new facility for Dubai and the wider UAE.
Food consumption in the region is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of more than four per cent in the next four years offering more business opportunities.
The growth is strong, particularly in the GCC region, with consumption levels expected to increase by 57 per cent between 2014 and 2030 due to economic and population growth as well as a surge in tourist numbers.
The UAE imports 85 per cent of food consumed domestically, but its food processing trade helps secure food security for the country, according to senior officials. Indeed, the beefing up of food reserves has been a priority for the UAE since the 2008 financial crisis.
According to Khalifa Al Ali, managing director of Abu Dhabi Food Security Centre, the growth of the UAE as a geostrategic re-export hub has also ensured its food security over the last ten years.
“Our geographical location, political stability, good relations with many foreign countries and right infrastructure support the food processing sector and food export trade,” he says, adding that 70 per cent of some imported food items are re-exported from the UAE.
In November 2016, Dubai Wholesale City announced the beginning of excavation works at the project after awarding enabling works contract to Port Saeed Transport and Building Contracting Company.
Set to attract US $8.1 billion (AED30bn) in investments, the city, which includes an industrial park, will offer facilities to meet the dynamic needs of the region’s thriving trade, manufacturing and logistics sector.
Dubai Wholesale City will increase the UAE’s share of the global wholesale trade sector, which is valued at US $4.3 trillion, and expected to grow to US $4.9 trillion in the next five years.