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RIYADH: Food and beverage trade in the UAE grew steadily to reach more than $20 billion in the first nine months of 2021, a new analysis from Dubai Chamber of Commerce shows.

The sector was supported by increased demand and expanded efforts to enhance food security and diversify food imports.

Imports constituted the largest share of food trade in the UAE during the period from January to September 2021, amounting to $12.8 billion, followed by exports with a value of $4.1 billion, and re-exports $3.3 billion.

The UAE’s imports, exports and re-exports from 2011 to 2020 grew at a compound annual growth rate of 0.6 percent, 7.5 percent and 6.0 percent respectively.

The analysis showed that India was the best food and beverage trading partner for the UAE in the first nine months of 2021, accounting for 12 percent of the Gulf country’s total value.

Fruits and nuts accounted for the largest percentage of such imports at 13 percent, followed by meat at 11 percent, dairy products at 10 percent and oilseeds at 7 percent.

The growing momentum behind the food and beverage trade in the UAE reflects the country’s successful efforts and initiatives to diversify the import and export markets, Hassan Al-Hashemi, vice president of international relations at Dubai Chamber of Commerce said.

Al-Hashemi explained that the steady growth of the UAE’s exports of food and beverages indicates that the sector in the country is maturing, developing, and supporting the national food security agenda.

He also added that Dubai, in particular, is leading the way in leveraging technology to advance the food and beverage sector and meet new challenges and market needs.

Ten markets accounted for about 66 percent of the UAE’s total exports of food and beverages during the first nine months of 2021, and Saudi Arabia ranked first in this category with 17 percent.

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