UAE - A proposed UAE-India food corridor initiative is projected to draw investments of up to $7 billion from the Emirates to the Subcontinent.
Food industry experts, speaking at a virtual UAE-India Food Dialogue, said such investments would help develop dedicated logistics infrastructure connecting farms to ports in India, adding that the initiative has the potential to triple India-UAE food trade over the next five years.
At the webinar, co-organised by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), speakers said food security has been identified as a key area where bilateral non-oil trade can be tripled and expanded beyond the Dh152 billion accounted for in 2019.
Food experts at the webinar, which was attended by 310 participants, pointed out that increasing cooperation between the UAE and India on food security and the food corridor are two major factors expected to expand bilateral trade and investment in the future. The event was held on the sidelines of India International Food & Agri Week.
Omar Khan, director of international offices at the Dubai Chamber, said the dialogue offered participants valuable insights on bilateral trade ties, which have evolved and strengthened after the two countries announced a comprehensive strategic partnership.
He noted that given the changing trade dynamics and disruptions to global supply chains as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is crucial that both nations collaborate to enhance food security.
He said the UAE-India Food Corridor would be a key joint initiative that would take bilateral relations to the next level. “As a preferred trade hub for Indian businesses, Dubai can unlock this potential as it offers several competitive advances, such as its world-class logistics and transport infrastructure, as well as a strategic geographic position enabling Indian food exporters to expand their reach across GCC markets.”
Khan said the Dubai Chamber’s representative office in India is playing a crucial role in building bridges of cooperation between the UAE and Indian businesses.
Ahmad Sultan Al Falahi, commercial attaché at the Embassy of the UAE in India, pointed out that food wastage in India is estimated to be $12.5 billion and a strong logistics infrastructure for farm to port can be a huge enabler in reducing food waste. The UAE can step-in and form meaningful collaborations with India on that front.
Piruz Khambatta, chairman of the CII National Committee on Special Abilities, said logistics costs remain a key challenge for traders of fresh fruits and vegetables within India. However, upcoming infrastructure enhancements are expected to reduce the time and costs associated with food transportation, he said.
Khambatta said major initiatives seeking to boost India’s food trade are in the pipeline. They include new bills introduced to empower the farmers in India by giving them direct access to the market, and the self-reliant India initiative package providing benefits, subsidies and low-interest loans for the food sector.
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