The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) has today, Tuesday, January 18, 2011, held the first general meeting of the Food Trade and Industry Work Group. Best practices and strategies for enhancing economic development and the local investment environment were discussed during the session.
During the meeting at SCCI’s headquarters, participants talked about how to improve the performance of the food sector and discussed concerns outlined by the industry’s representative committee. Issues related to the 2011 working plan, which aims to boost the sector’s performance through human resource development initiatives, were also addressed. The adoption of best practices followed by leading local, regional and international bodies as well as increased participation in forums and lectures facilitated through SCCI’s network of strategic partnerships with prominent UAE educational institutions, academic authorities and professional training institutes were also tackled.
Iqbal Othman, CEO of IFCO and chairman of the representative committee, reported his organization’s accomplishments for 2010 and revealed the outcomes of meetings held with government departments and authorities. He also discussed the results of local and international conventions and forums as well as courses and workshops organized by the committee in collaboration with the SCCI Economic Affairs Department for the sector’s stakeholders.
Speaking at the meeting, Othman said: “The committee’s first general meeting outlines its work for the coming period. We want to align with SCCI’s objectives towards enhanced economic activity and further establish Sharjah as a leading destination for capital investments, especially into the food industry in order to boost the sector’s contributions to the national GDP. Strategic partnerships between the public and private sectors are key to accelerating the economic growth of Sharjah and the Emirates in general. In this regard the committee has been conducting various visits ands activities involving government institutions to further acquaint ourselves with pertinent laws and exchange opinions and ideas on how to further develop the sector.”
“We plan to reinforce ties with industry players through regular general meetings, field visits to industrial facilities, and constant monitoring of our programs. We also intend to conduct comprehensive training courses and workshops and develop promotional campaigns in support of local products. Our other priorities are to ensure the adoption of best practices and quality measures, facilitate transfer of expertise, and encourage discussions on industry trends in order to identify ways to reinforce the local sector’s market presence through initiatives such as exhibitions, conventions and consortiums,” he added.
Mohammed Ahmed Amin, Assistant Director General of Economic and International Affairs, SCCI, said: “This meeting complements the Chamber’s pursuit of all means available to optimize the food sector’s potential in collaboration with government departments and relevant authorities. SCCI will continue to uphold the best interests of the private sector overall through the continuous development of activities and the protection of its members. The food industry is one of Sharjah’s strategic sectors and plays a key role in boosting the emirate’s GDP. Its major segments include dairy, vegetable oils, meats, seafood, cereal and fodder, chocolate and sweets, pastry, soft drinks, and mineral water. The industry’s diversity was the main motivation for establishing the Food Trade and Industry Work Group which provides a platform for us to hear the points of view of stakeholders and aim for greater collaboration.”
The Food Trade and Industry Work Group was established during the 2010 sector representatives’ meeting and is an outcome of SCCI’s focus on formulating industry-specific work groups in order to boost communication with the private sector. The sector’s representation committee is led by its President, Iqbal Othman, with the support of Vice President Majed Salem Al Junaid, Director General of Sharjah Cooperative Society. Committee members include Mustafa Mohammed Al Husaini from the Golden Loaf Establishment; K. V. Mohan from Al Kazzaz Bakery; and Bharat Adarkar from Global Food Industries, who is the committee’s Executive Secretary.
Since its founding in 1970, SCCI has been striving to build up Sharjah’s stature through diverse initiatives aiming at protecting its members, the private sector, and the business community in general. The Chamber constantly formulates new strategies to create more investment opportunities and raise the competitiveness of the local business environment. It has been instrumental in boosting the emirate’s productivity and advancing local economic diversification.