Dubai: Retail and leisure group Majid Al Futtaim have announced a new initiative with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) to boost the availability of locally grown produce across Carrefour stores in the UAE.
The programme will open up new distribution channels for more than 6,000 small and medium-sized local farmers and ensure a sustainable supply of fresh fruit and vegetables across the country.
This collaboration is an example of the public and private sector working together to turn a challenge into an opportunity and is made possible by a Memorandum of Understanding signed by both parties in 2018 that has since resulted in several important partnerships.
This latest initiative will enable local farmers to sell their produce at competitive prices through a large network of distribution and collection centres, while also benefitting from Carrefour’s sorting and packing services.
Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said, “The MoCCAE and Majid Al Futtaim share a firm dedication to advancing sustainable development, and creating efficient distribution channels for local agricultural produce is an integral part of achieving this objective. In line with the new strategic food security law, issued by the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on 30 March 2020, Carrefour’s direct purchase scheme will go a long way in providing a sufficient supply of essential food commodities in the UAE – a key priority in view of the current situation.”
Alain Bejjani, Chief Executive Officer at Majid Al Futtaim Holding, said: “Our latest partnership reinforces our commitment to substantially and sustainably contribute to the country’s food security efforts and increase the supply of fresh and nutritious produce in our stores.
“There are significant environmental and socioeconomic benefits to reducing food miles from farm to consumer,” he added. “Including considerable energy reduction and cost savings for local farmers. In the past two months, we have witnessed a 60 per cent increase in the sale of local produce, compared to the same period last year. Our partnership with local producers will ensure we continue to meet this demand, while creating opportunities for farmers, entrepreneurs and SMEs to grow their businesses, safeguard employment and offset what they may have temporarily lost with the closure of fresh food markets. We consider this to be our role as a leading UAE company that contributes to the economic fabric of the country.”
Currently, around 16 per cent of all fruits and vegetables available in Carrefour outlets are grown locally and include over 100 varieties. The programme will help significantly increase the amount of local produce distributed across Carrefour channels in the UAE.
This initiative follows the introduction of Carrefour’s hydroponic farms in November 2019, a result of MoCCAE and Majid Al Futtaim Retail’s collaboration aimed at selling locally grown agricultural products across all Carrefour stores in the UAE and enhancing the use of innovative farming methods.