GOIC inaugurates the 1st Forum of GCC Food Products Manufacturers and Food Security Program
03 April 2017

In parallel with FOODEX Qatar

The Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting (GOIC), a regional diplomatic organization, inaugurated the 1st Forum of GCC Food Products Manufacturers and Food Security Program and the 1st International Exhibition for Food, Beverage and Process Technology (FOODEX) at the Doha Exhibition and Conference Center (DECC). The event will take place from the 2nd till the 4th of April, 2017 in the presence of GOIC assistant secretaries general, a number of Arab, Gulf and foreign ambassadors, and investors and interested parties in food manufacturing in GCC countries. 
His Excellency Mr. Abdulaziz Bin Hamad Al-Ageel, Secretary General of GOIC, delivered a keynote speech at the inauguration of the event. He said: “Food products manufacturing in the GCC is receiving a growing attention from governments and decision makers alike. Food manufacturing is actually a highly important activity in the GCC. It is one of the necessary pillars to shape the strategic economic dimension as it actively contributes to providing nutrition for humans, guaranteeing maximum food products self-sufficiency and reducing dependency on imports which leads to food security.”
GOIC Secretary General added: “This is why GOIC collaborated with Emirati Al-Fajer Information & Services in coordination with the Organization’s partner in Qatar, the Gulf Marketing Event Management & Advertising, to organise the 1st Forum of GCC Food Products Manufacturers and Food Security Program in conjunction with the 1st International Exhibition for Food, Beverage & Process Technology. GOIC’s main objective is to provide food industry-related information to the largest possible range of stakeholders like policy makers, decision makers, investors and researchers in this field. Thus, they will have access to valuable information to develop and promote the Gulf food products manufacturing industry, as it is a promising sector capable of actively contributing to economic growth in the region.”
“Food industries have become one of the cornerstones of a solid economy, for it depends on agricultural activities and developing livestock and fisheries, in addition to its vital role in achieving GCC food security and self-sufficiency. In this regard, GOIC believes in the importance of its role in the areas of consulting, research and studies. Consequently, the forum and exhibition will create an opportunity to introduce investment opportunities that were prepared by GOIC experts to be accessible to investors and businessmen and executed in Qatar or any other GCC country in accordance with its goals aiming at creating a developed economy in the region”, said Mr. Al-Ageel.
His Excellency opined: “GCC countries’ interest in developing the food manufacturing industry played a major role in promoting this sector. In fact, approximately 25 billion USD were invested and about 257 thousand people were offered jobs in 2063 factories operating in the food manufacturing sector in 2016.”
Mr. Al-Ageel added: “GCC countries have what it takes to establish industrial food projects, notably access to technology, low customs tariffs on agricultural imports, high health control standards and specifications, the capacity to spend on research and development, a strong purchasing power, high food products import bill, the capacity to make agricultural investments in other countries and to attract skilled workers, in addition to benefiting from the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA) to promote food exports.”
In conclusion, he wished the forum great success and hoped participants would reach recommendations to boost the food manufacturing sector. Likewise, he expressed his wishes of success to FOODEX Qatar in achieving its desired objectives to develop this industrial sector in GCC countries.”
Dr. Abdullah Al-Nameh, Chairman of Gulf Marketing said, "It is not uncommon for the development of Qatar's industrial sector and its scope. In order to contribute to this, Gulf Marketing and Exhibitions Company, together with the partnership of Fajr Information and Services in Dubai, decide to organize this exhibition for food and beverage technology and the manufacturing process in the name of "Foodex Qatar 2017".  

The inauguration of FOODEX Qatar
FOODEX Qatar was then inaugurated under the patronage of His Excellency Mr. Abdulaziz Bin Hamad Al-Ageel, Secretary General of GOIC. Mr. Al-Ageel and a number of participants including Arab and foreign ambassadors also visited the exhibition’s booths. 
Foodex Qatar will give the food industry in the Middle East and especially Qatar a wider horizon and will encourage the world leaders in the food business to set up their operations in the richest economy, besides creating investment opportunities for the local businessmen to tie up with the brands names in the food business.  Besides, China Pavilion and Thailand Pavilion, exhibitors from Belgium, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mali, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, UAE and United Kingdom, will present their products and technology during this 3 days expo. 

GOIC’s working paper
During the sessions of the forum, GOIC presented a paper highlighting total investments in the food manufacturing sector that reached approximately 25 billion USD representing 6.3% of the total manufacturing investments valued at 394 billion USD. The paper revealed that the food manufacturing industry offered approximately 257 thousand job opportunities (15.5% of the total manufacturing labour force of 1.6 million workers). As to food manufacturers in the GCC, there was about 2063 factories representing 11.7% of the total 17593 factories in 2016. 
According to GOIC’s paper, a number of challenges were identified such as “high competition caused by imported products, obstacles hindering Gulf food products’ access to global markets, the lack of raw materials locally because of the limited agricultural lands available, the difficulty to promote products, the limited capacities of SMEs, the trouble to acquire agricultural lands and the high construction cost of industrial buildings.”

Working sessions
The forum included a presentation by GOIC on the diagnosis of the status and elements of GCC food industries and their role in providing food security in the GCC region, Qatar University’s paper on agro-industries and a presentation on investment opportunities, success stories and specialised expertise in the field of food manufacturing. In this regard, GOIC introduced a set of promising investment opportunities in the GCC which was followed by a presentation by the Economic Zones Company and sessions to present food manufacturing technologies by participating companies at FOODEX Qatar. Moreover, discussion sessions allowed for an exchange of ideas and visuals about the best means and measures to promote, improve and develop food industries to fulfil consumers’ needs and increase their contribution to regional food security. 

Final Statement
In conclusion, participants agreed on a number of recommendations based on the aforementioned working papers to improve and develop the food manufacturing industry in the GCC as follows:
1. Deploying relentless efforts to overcome difficult climatic and natural conditions that limit the expansion of agricultural lands.
2. Taking into account agricultural policies aiming at raising productive efficiency and optimising the utilisation of economic resources in the agricultural sector.
3. Developing agricultural exchange and transport means between GCC countries.
4. Encouraging investments in support of agricultural production and food industries. 
5. Endeavouring to increase design capacity of factories in order to achieve food security.
6. Relying on local raw materials in the field of food manufacturing.
7. Deploying efforts to achieve more cooperation and coordination between GCC manufacturers, which is the ideal solution to face problems like dumping, price war and others that harm manufacturers’ interests and finding appropriate solutions and mechanisms to treat them. 
8. Focusing on establishing food industries that can replace imports and offer job opportunities to the labour force.
9. Strengthening technical support programs targeting food manufacturers to boost quality and productivity. 

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