The Gulf region has emerged as one of the key markets for Indian agri-products over the years. Plus, exports of agri-products under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda), an apex organisation under the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, to GCC countries stood at $3.38 billion (over Dh12 billion) during 2016-17, accounting for 20.9 per cent of India's total trade in these products by value.
Export of Apeda products to the UAE during 2016-17 stood at $1.39 billion (over Dh5 billion) and included products such as Basmati rice, non-Basmati rice, buffalo meat, fresh fruits and vegetables, etc.
In an interview with Khaleej Times, S.S. Nayyar, general manager, Apeda, said: "We have been regularly participating at Gulfood and the size of the show keeps growing year by year. In fact, we wanted space for even more companies but couldn't get it as the show was sold out. India has established a reputable brand here and our demand is much more than the supply."
There are about 300 Indian companies participating, a number of which are with Apeda. Nayyar highlights that the response they have received in the two days has been encouraging.
"We are hoping that in the days to come, there would be an increase in buyers. Certainly, the Middle East is an important market for us, but Gulfood also gives us the opportunity to tap into the markets of other countries as well," he added.
Indian companies are showcasing a number of new products at the event such as ready-to-eat products like frozen chapattis, as well as confectionery and mouth fresheners, among others. Also, there is a wide presence of rice exporters. To promote the Indian food products, Apeda has organised sampling of beverages, rice, as well as biryani, which attracted huge queues on day one.
On the sidelines of the show, Navdeep Singh Suri, the Indian Ambassador to the UAE, told Khaleej Times
: "The range and diversity of Indian companies showcase how the food processing industry in India has taken off. There is a presence in ready-to-eat food, cereal as well as grain sections. It's great to see 'Make in India' being demonstrated in Dubai."
In most of the supermarket and hypermarkets here, there is a prominent availability of Indian products, especially in terms of rice, vegetables and ready-to-eat products. With the increasing popularity of Indian food, Nayyar said Apeda has received the opportunity to not only sustain India's presence here but also to enhance its share.
"Indian food is really popular not just with the expat population here, but also with the locals. The way the Middle Eastern economy is growing and the adoption of advanced technology have further paved the way for us," he added. "With new units coming up in the agro-processing sector, this is a major priority area for the government of India."
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