DUBAI: The Emirates Food Security Council, in conjunction with the Ministry of Energy and Industry, has revealed that 568 factories in the UAE produce 5.96 million tons of food and beverage products annually, with 2.3 million tons comprising essential food items.
Releasing the statement to highlight the efficiency of the UAE’s food production landscape, the council announced that the figure was taken from factories registered in the Ministry of Energy and Industry’s licensing system. The council also revealed that the capacity of factories operating in the UAE can expand their total annual production of various food and beverage products by 3 folds as part of their responsiveness to emergencies and crises.
H.E. Eng. Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy & Industry, underlined the advanced productive capacities and high flexibility that food factories in the UAE have demonstrated, whether in their ability to boost production or customise their production lines to keep pace with the high demand for certain goods. “This, in turn, has had a positive role in enhancing the sustainability of the food security system in the country,” H.E. said. “We are working to enhance the sustainability and competitiveness of these manufacturing capabilities in the long term, in line with the UAE Policy for Advanced Industries, which emphasized the importance of applying Fourth Industrial Revolution tools and advanced technologies to boost productivity and efficiency across our national factories.”
“The food and beverage industry is one of the most important manufacturing sectors in the country,” H.E. Al Mazrouei explained. “It is the third-largest sector in terms of the number of national manufacturers, with 568 national factories registered with the Ministry of Energy and Industry. It accounts for 30% of total investments in the industrial sector, and employs 10% of all workers in the industrial sector in the UAE.”
“The F&B manufacturing sector is key for achieving food security and self-sufficiency in basic commodities,” H.E. explained. “Small and medium-sized national factories account for the overwhelming majority of the sector and provide local and regional markets with a variety of primary and secondary products. Additionally, many major international brands have set up factories in the UAE, taking it as a regional centre for their manufacturing and supply activities.”
Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security, assured that the UAE has an integrated food system that includes the food processing industry which have a large production capacity that can supply the UAE market with various foods and beverages, including some of the essential food items – an especially important consideration during the current time.
“We are working to implement the goals of the National Food Security Strategy, key pillars of which are to improve domestic yield by 30% using technology-enabled production methods and to increase in production of select essential food items by 15% by 2021. These targets are being achieved through full cooperation with our partners in both the government and private sectors, with our strategic partnerships resulting in further investments in the UAE’s food sector and an increase in the number of food projects in the country,” said Her Excellency.
“The production capacity figures we have released today reflect the strength of the food processing sector in the country and our ability to triple production if needed. In the coming period we will be striving to enhance the capacities of these factories with various technological capabilities and enable them to diversify the production of products,” said Her Excellency.
The statement issued by the Emirates Food Security Council and the Ministry of Energy and Industry affirmed that there are 568 food and beverage factories operating throughout the UAE, with 40 in Abu Dhabi, 315 in Dubai, 77 in Sharjah, 72 in Ajman, 34 in Umm Al Quwain, 23 in Ras Al Khaimah and 7 in Fujairah. These facilities produce 5.96 million tons of food and beverage products annually, with their maximum production capacity reaching more than 16.3 million tons annually.
The products that these factories produce includes 15 of the essential food items. Dairy products, including milk, cheese, cream and butter, make up 633,000 tons, while legumes form a total of around 400,000 tons, with this industry including the processing, packing, roasting and seasoning of various nuts. Cooking oil is an essential food item and a total of 331,000 tons is produced annually, with the industry including the production and refining of vegetable oils and the packaging of vegetable and animal oils and fats.
Dates are another major commodity and food staple for the UAE, with more than 140,000 tons processed, packed or turned into date products annually. Fresh poultry comprises 108,000 tons and includes slaughtering, preparing, freezing and manufacturing poultry meat products, while fish production constitutes a total of 63,000 tons, including canning, processing, and freezing of fish and seafood. The list of commodities that UAE factories produce also includes sugar, tea, pepper, eggs, baby food, wheat, rice, coffee and fresh meat.
Her Excellency Almheiri reiterated that the secondary industry of the food sector is an essential supporter of the country’s food security system, as it provides added value to food products and so contributes to increasing domestic production in the long term. She highlighted that the Emirates Food Security Council is working to provide the capabilities and mechanisms that guarantee the development of the secondary industry sector in order to enhance overall food security in the UAE.