File photo of the 2022 Gulfood edition. Image Credit: Dubai Media Office

Dubai: The UAE has highlighted efforts to boost local food security as a critical goal for the country to transform its food supply system in 2023.

With limited natural agricultural resources and the pandemic causing global supply disruptions, authorities in the country have launched several new directives to exhibit more support for locally-produced food products. These include industrial-scale vertical farming facilities, investment in agro-tech efforts, and the introduction of legislation and policies to enhance production and reduce food waste.

In a bid to achieve these goals, this year’s Gulfood exhibition will present opportunities in the F&B sector. Set to take place from February 20 to 24, the 28th edition is 30 per cent larger than the previous year, with 1,500 of the 5,000 plus confirmed exhibitors new to the show.

Leading government entities and companies associated with the F&B sector are poised to participate. The Khalifa Economic Zones Abu Dhabi (KEZAD Group) will showcase its products, services, and business solutions. KEZAD’s food sector ecosystem is currently spread over more than seven million square metres, including 3.3 square kilometres dedicated to the Abu Dhabi Food Hub, and more than 40 global, regional and local companies currently operating in the ecosystem.

Abdullah Al Hameli, CEO of Economic Cities and Free Zones, AD Ports Group, said: “The UAE moves towards building a sustainable farming ecosystem to achieve ultimate food security. At KEZAD, we are fully aligned with this vision. We have made great strides in supporting its realisation as we move to secure food sources today and in the future.”

Meanwhile, Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) has also announced plans to showcase an array of products, services and investment opportunities at Gulfood this year. DET’s participation aligns with the objectives of Dubai Economic Agenda D33, aimed at doubling the emirate’s foreign trade and accelerating the growth of SMEs.

DET’s participation will reinforce its pivotal role in attracting manufacturers and foreign investors, specifically from the food and beverage sector, a key pillar of Dubai’s economy.

The Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA) HFZA will introduce visitors to the lucrative opportunities it offers to investors in the food industry sector. Additionally, it will showcase its pioneering project, Food Park, the UAE and region’s largest integrated city for food and commercial industries, said Saud Salim Al Mazrouei, Director of HFZA.