Dubai’s external food business reaches Dhs32b in H1 of this year


Business Bureau, Gulf Today

Dubai Customs announced on Monday that the emirate’s external food trade volumes in the first half of the year totalled 9 million tonnes, representing a value of Dhs32 billion. According to the latest trade statistics, Dubai’s food imports touched Dhs22 billion (6.23 million tonnes), while exports reached Dhs5.5 billion (2.1 million tonnes) and re-exports amounted to Dhs4.5 billion (733,000 tonnes) in H1 2020.

Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management said the high value of Dubai’s external food trade in the first half of the year reflects Dubai’s role as a major gateway for global trade. The trade volumes also validate the effectiveness of food security strategies and the efforts of Dubai’s Food Security Committee to ensure high levels of preparedness to tackle unforeseen challenges.

Sheikh Mansoor noted that Dubai’s approach is in line with the forward-looking vision of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum; the commitment of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to ensure the “UAE food supply chain will never be impacted”; and the directives of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai. Dubai’s Food Security Committee, launched in response to the COVID-19 crisis, has succeeded in ensuring the community had access to abundant food supplies in spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic, he said.

Dubai’s Food Security Dashboard “Dubai has developed innovative solutions to monitor and strengthen food security. The Dubai Food Security Dashboard, developed by a local government team, uses advanced technology to optimise food trade and stocks, manage price control and find alternative food import routes and sources,” Sheikh Mansoor said. He praised the work done by government agencies to develop the Dashboard as a smart tool for supporting Dubai’s food security strategy.

Launched by Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum in June, the Food Security Dashboard strengthens the efforts of the Dubai Food Security Committee in alignment with the UAE’s broader food security framework. The Dashboard uses artificial intelligence and data analytics to rapidly measure the five important indicators of food security: the supply index, stock availability, local production, consumption levels, and the cost of vital commodities in the emirate.

The Dubai Customs supports the Dashboard by not only enabling food trading groups and food supply companies to conduct trade but also providing up-to-date data on the trade of food commodities and materials through a messenger system that draws information from customs clearances.

Trade Volumes of Key Food Commodities According to statistics issued by Dubai Customs, Dubai’s external fish trade reached 98,000 tonnes in the first half of 2020. Fish imports reached Dhs755 million (76,000 tonnes), exports around Dhs145.5 million (9,000 tonnes) and re-exports Dhs113.2 million (12,500 tonnes). Trade in livestock and meats reached Dhs3.9 billion (448,000 tonnes). These included imports valued at Dhs3 billion (313,500 tonnes), exports at Dhs478.6 million (92,400 tonnes) and re-exports at Dhs437.6 million (42,000 tonnes).

Trade in vegetables and fruits amounted to Dhs7 billion (3.4 million tonnes), which included imports valued at Dhs4.5 billion (2.2 million tonnes), exports at Dhs1.8 billion (892,000 tonnes) and re-exports at Dhs700.8 million (285,200 tonnes).

Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs, said: “The UAE and Dubai place food security at the top of their priorities. Dubai is keen to harness its logistics capabilities, advanced technologies and proactive thinking to strengthen food security.”

Musabih added that Dubai Customs facilitates food trade and provides all relevant data to the Food Security Dashboard to help strategic partners plan their operations, make food security-related decisions and mitigate any impact of the global COVID-19 crisis.

“Food trade figures in the first half of 2020 reflect a healthy and robust economy. The high volumes helped ensure food security and meet local market needs for different food commodities in a timely manner even at the height of the global COVID-19 crisis,” Musabih said. “A number of initiatives taken by the government including the launch of a generous stimulus package boosted the business continuity of players in the sector and the broader economy,” he added.

The Director General of Dubai Customs also revealed that the value of Dubai’s external trade in medical supplies in the first half of 2020 topped Dhs12.4 billion (79,800 tonnes), which included Dhs9.7 billion (58,100 tonnes) worth of imports, Dhs293.5 million (7,400 tonnes) worth of exports and Dhs2.3 billion (14,200 tonnes) worth of re-exports.

Within its efforts to enhance Dubai’s leading position as a central hub for regional and global transit trade, Dubai Customs launched recently a guide on transit trade. The guide, prepared by the Tariff and Origin Department, outlines all the procedures and steps that need to be taken by companies to avail the services and facilities provided by Dubai Customs to transit activity.