Sunday, July 5, 2009

Organic Farming in the UAE Set to Double in 2008, Potential for Natural food Products on the Rise

The Gulf Today, 2 Nov 2008
In the backdrop of the increasing support and encouragement from the UAE government agencies in promoting organic agriculture, agriculture experts today said that area under organic cultivation in the emirates is set to double this year.
They said that the focus on organic farms have come at a time when the market for organic and natural food products have started picking up in the UAE as well as the region.
According to global data, Middle East is considered to be the fastest growing market for natural and organic foods. As per the current estimate, the global market for these alternatives to conventional food is to the tune of US$220 billion, while the Asian market, including the Middle East is estimated to be at over US$500 million.
“The pace of growth in the uptake of organic and natural food products is catching up at a rapid pace in the region in line with the global growth of 20-25 per cent a year, said Eng. Nadim Al Fuqaha, Managing Director, Global Links, organisers of the sixth edition of the Middle East Natural and Organic Products Expo (MENOPE 2008).
‘With production and sales of natural & organic products in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Oman increasing, there are 3,000 outlets displaying these natural and alternative products across the region including pharmacists’ and health related networks. The Government of UAE is also encouraging the practice of organic farming for environment conservation, along with the instigation of alternative medicine and treatments,’ Eng. Nadim added.
The show is supported by the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water as well as the Ministry of Health.
He said organic farming is catching up in the region with the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman leading the Gulf countries which are keen to generate food resources internally.
Eng. Al Fuqah said there are over 100 companies taking part in the show and there is significant participation from agriculture entities under the government of Saudi Arabia.
MENOPE 2008 will run at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) from November 16-18 2008.
‘The expo has been able to generate considerable interest with the regional market for organic and natural products expanding at a rapid pace. In the last few years, the governments in the region, particularly the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman, have taken various proactive steps to support the market, including encouraging organic farming,” he said.
‘The rising interest and market expansion for organic and natural products in the Middle East is highlighted in the participation of over 25 companies from the region, including the UAE,’ Eng. Nadim said.
MENOPE 2008 this year is a bigger show with the merger of Arab Naturals Expo & Conferences, offering a large regional platform for the organic industry and to fuel the growth of global organic movement in collaboration with all the international community.
Internationally, the exhibition is supported by the International Federation of Organic and Agricultural Movements (IFOAM), Korea Health Supplement Association (KHSA) etc.
The expo will showcase a variety of products spanning Herbals and Spices, Foods & Beverages, Cereal Products, Supplements, Health Care products, Natural Living, Natural Cosmetics, Healing Products, Natural remedies, Traditional Medicines, Spas, Relaxation facilities, Pet products, Fabrics etc.

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