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Dubai plans Food City project worth $200m

Free zone development expected to make prices more competitive and ensure sufficient stock, official says

Image Credit:Vazhisojan/Gulf News
A woman holds a king crab during the Gulfood event at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. A new five million square foot Dubai Food City aimed at wholesale merchants is being planned.
Gulf News

Dubai: A $200 million (Dh734 million) Dubai Food City is in the planning stages, according to industry experts.

Dubai Food City will be a five million square foot self-contained development, aimed at wholesale food merchants, according to Farouk Qasim, head of the food and beverage group in Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI).

While the estimated value of the project is $200 million, this figure may change as costs, especially in areas such as construction are decreasing.

It will be a free zone development and will be able to hold between 400 to 500 companies.

"It will make it easier if everything is under one roof, such as inspections for customs, warehousing [and so on]. It will be a one-stop shop," Qasim told local media during a DCCI business event held on the sidelines of the Gulfood exhibition.

While Dubai Food City is still in the planning stages, it will be rolled out in four phases with phase one expected to be completed by 2012.

Qasim said ideally the city would be next to a seaport as the majority of exports go by sea.

Dubai Food City will increase food security in the UAE which already imports 90 per cent of its food.

"It will make prices more competitive and will allow sufficient stock at any given time right on your doorstep, so there will never be a shortage," he said.

Hamad Bu Amim, director general of DCCI, said that the government should keep trying to secure agricultural land in places such as Vietnam, the world leader in rice, Chile, the world leader in vegetables and Sudan, where the Abu Dhabi government has acquired land.

"The government should keep these [in mind] as strategic investments. We always encourage joint ventures especially in those countries that have the infrastructure to support agriculture," Bu Amim said.

This is the latest clustered city aimed at a specific industry in Dubai.

Businesses involved in the same industry are located in one place to make trading and communication much easier.

Dubai is already host to the Dubai International Finance Centre, Internet City, Media City, Knowledge Village, Healthcare City, and Humanitarian City among others.

The food and beverage industry in Dubai was valued at $8 billion in 2008.

While figures for 2009 are difficult to forecast, Qasim said there will still be growth in the industry.