Legislation brings focus back on organic products

DUBAI — A new regulatory regime spanning certification and standard setting for organic products in the UAE has further reinforced the credentials and growth of organic products in the UAE, experts said while announcing the details of the 10th edition of the region’s only niche organic and natural products show — MENOPE 2012.

By Abdul Basit

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Published: Thu 22 Nov 2012, 10:47 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 2:46 PM

Addressing a news conference, organic market experts said that a legislation by the UAE Federal Ministry of Water and Environment termed ‘Emirates Organic Foods certification Scheme,’ has brought more organised focus on the organic products sector.

The legislation executed by the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA) mandates that local organic produce as well as imported products will have to conform to UAE Mark standards before it is offered to consumers. There are more than 100 exhibitors at the show and the number of exhibitors are almost the same compared to last year, but there are some new, said Joby Mathew Muricken, head of Exhibitions at Global Links — the organiser of MENOPE.

Main attraction of the event this year is 13 local farms are participating at the exhibition for the first time in the exhibition, he added.

There is a significant increase in demand for organic products in Dubai and exports and re-exports also show signs of improvement, according to Eng. Redha Hassan Salman, director-Public Health and Safety Department, Dubai Municipality.

Dr Saad A. Khalil Esa, advisor to the Minister of Agriculture, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, said last year the estimated market value of organic products in Saudi Arabia was around SR1 billion and 50 per cent of that come from one producer in the kingdom. Eng Nadim Al Fuqaha, managing director Global Links, said: “Instituting such a regulatory environment is healthy and is also a testimony to the rising government interest in this sector as consumption increases.”

Fuqaha said consumption of organic products in the Middle East and North Africa region has been picking up speed.He said the awareness on lifestyle diseases and its linkage to food habits has also fuelled interest for organic and natural products. “The market is growing by over 15 per cent year on year and this is evident by the increasing volume of shelf space for organic products in outlets across the region.”

The Middle East is believed to be the fastest growing market for organic and natural products in the world and this has also triggered global interest, evident in the participation of many world players in the organic market. MENOPE 2012 will run fromNovember 27-29 2012 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. It is expected that over 5,000 trade visitors would visit the expo looking for business opportunities. abdulbasit@kahleejtimes.com

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