Region’s premier food trade and policy planning event on the way

Published November 8th, 2010 - 09:55 GMT

Final preparations are underway for the debut of SIAL Middle East, the regional edition of the world's largest food trade event set to run from November 22 to 24, 2010 at ADNEC, the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre. The announcement was made today at a special press conference held at ADNEC. Prominent government and industry officials were on hand to share their thoughts on the importance of the upcoming event to the region's food businesses and policies.

"The Middle East region's food industry is valued at around USD 35 billion, of which GCC countries account for nearly USD 12 billion," said Rashed Al Shariqi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority. "In an endeavor to conserve economic resources and further diversify the economy, we need to assess the expansion possibilities of the food industry and develop export potential across the region."

"SIAL Middle East provides a comprehensive platform where food professionals, companies and authorities can come together and set appropriate directions for the region's burgeoning food sector and familiarize with diverse global experiences in the food industry," Al Shariqi said.

"From the vantage point of Abu Dhabi, global firms in the food industry will approach around 2 billion consumers in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia," Al Shariqi added.

Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE, Minister of Presidential Affairs and the Chairman of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, the three-day long event is organised by Turret Media in collaboration with Comexposium.

Prominent figures who attended today's conference included H.E. Ali Saeed Bin Harmal Al Dhaheri, Managing Director, ADNEC; Richard Hease, Chairman, Turret Media; Gokhan Adanali, Commercial Counselor, Turkish Embassy in Abu Dhabi; Mohamed Jalal Al Reyaysa, Director of Communications and Community Services, ADFCA; and Eric Santier, Managing Director, Sopexa.

Commenting on hosting the event at its premises, H.E. Ali Saeed Bin Harmal Al Dhaheri, Managing Director of ADNEC, said, "SIAL Middle East will establish a benchmark for food trade shows - both existing and planned - throughout the region. The event will highlight the strengths of our venue and is set to underline Abu Dhabi's emergence as a preferred global destination for special events."

Buyers from the region will be able to source from more than 1,000 brands showcased by 300 exhibitors from 35 countries.

Richard Hease, Chairman of Turret Media – organizer of the event, said, "The major appeal of this grand event is that 80 per cent of exhibitors belong to the international food industry, bringing in brand new products and services to the region. SIAL Middle East will deliver business benefits to both exhibitors and trade visitors as they get a unique opportunity to source and introduce food products of the global food industry."

Highlighting the specialized lineup of featured events that run alongside the exhibition such as the Purchasers Club and the UNIDO Investment Meetings, Richard Hease affirmed that SIAL Middle East will trigger more investments in food industry, thus giving the UAE's USD 6.78 billion food industry a substantial boost.

"We are bringing in hundreds of top food, beverage and equipment buyers to relevant exhibitors to help facilitate business through a series of pre-arranged one-to-one meetings under the Purchaser's Club; and the UNIDO Investment Meetings will host companies interested in establishing food manufacturing operations in the Middle East," Hease added.

For the first time in the global food industry, SIAL Middle East will bring together 30 date manufacturing companies and host date trade buyers at the show.

The show will also feature 9 national pavilions from Argentina, China, France, Hong Kong, Iran, Lebanon, Thailand, Turkey, and the United States.

Gokhan Adanali, Commercial Counselor, Turkish Embassy noted the complementary relationship between Turkey's food and agriculture sectors and the UAE's food security plan. Turkey will have the largest pavilion during the show, with a total of 27 Turkish companies, all participating for the first time in the region.

Eric Santier, Managing Director of Sopexa (organizer of the French pavilion) agreed on the need to further strengthen trade ties in the region.

SIAL Middle East is also set to break new grounds with the first-of-its kind Middle East Food Summit held in association with ADFCA. This summit will include a high-level Ministerial Conference exploring the development of an integrated food policy for the Gulf by seeking common standards for food risk assessment and safety, nutrition, emergency response, and effective communication procedures for imminent risk.

The UAE Ministry of Environment will host agriculture, finance, environment and trade ministers from the region to join them in a keynote session.

On the sidelines of the Ministerial Conference, Rashed Al Shariqi said, "In the Arab world, food crises lurch behind us menacingly as a result of the increase in populations and the decline in resources. The population of the Arab world is expected to reach 480 million by the year 2030. It is a huge responsibility to guarantee safe, secure and nutritious food for such large numbers of people."

"Any development strategy for food security in any country has to aim at developing sustainable agriculture and food industries aligned to it. We hope the Ministerial Conference will result in the formulation of a vision for permanent joint work towards food security and safety for the fraternal countries of the region," Al Shariqi added.

A Retail Forum organized in association with the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry will be attended by key industry experts from the region. It will focus on the latest issues, ideas, trends and opportunities in the Middle Eastern food retail sector.

The show will also host the region's first-ever La Cuisine Du SIAL cooking competition between professional chefs. 

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