Representatives from the UN are in the capital this week to encourage investors and manufacturers to set up food businesses in the region.
In partnership with the Abu Dhabi Department for Economic Development and the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi, the UN Industrial Development Organization (Unido) is aiming to cut the Middle East's reliance on imported goods by fostering the growth of food manufacturing.
"As food consumption continues to grow, coupled with growing consumer preferences toward processed and packaged convenience foods, there are substantial opportunities for manufacturing companies and investors to establish and expand operations in the region," said Hashim Hussein, the head of Unido's investment and technology promotion office in Bahrain, who was speaking this week at Sial Middle East, a food conference in Abu Dhabi.
The UN's drive is also designed to increase food security in the region and create jobs, as the Gulf currently has a deficit in food production of US$25.8 billion (Dh94.76bn).
"Encouraging the domestic food processing industry in the GCC region will go a long way to reducing the reliance of imports, at the same time diversifying regional economies," said Mohamed Jalal Al Reyaysa, the director of communication and community services at the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority.