UAE rolls out strategic food security law

 

The law stipulates grant incentives and facilities to the registered provider and merchant as per the regulations issued by a Cabinet decision.
The law stipulates grant incentives and facilities to the registered provider and merchant as per the regulations issued by a Cabinet decision.

Dubai - The law specifies a record of registration and classification of suppliers and merchants.

By Issac John

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Published: Mon 30 Mar 2020, 6:45 PM

Last updated: Tue 31 Mar 2020, 5:47 AM

The UAE has rolled out a strategic food security law that ensures adequate and uninterrupted food supplies through wholesalers and retailers across the UAE at all times.
The law, approved by The President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, seeks to regulate the strategic stock of food commodities in the country in the event of crises, emergencies and disasters and offers incentives and facilities to registered providers and merchants while stipulating various penalties that include imprisonment and fines of up to Dh5 million for violators.
A per the law (Federal Law No. 3 of 2020), registered merchants are required to manage the strategic stock of food commodities and the warehouse by specifying the location, area and size of the store designated for the food commodities provided that it is in the country, and to notify the competent authority of the location of the store, as well as storing the stock of food commodities under the specifications and standards adopted in the UAE.
The law specifies a record of registration and classification of suppliers and merchants.
Incentives
The law stipulates grant incentives and facilities to the registered provider and merchant as per the regulations issued by a Cabinet decision.
Penalties for violators
The law specifies various penalties that include imprisonment and a fine of not less than Dh1 million and not more than Dh5 million to those who violate the provision of the stock of strategic commodities during emergencies, crises or disasters as per the distribution plans prepared by the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority in coordination with the competent authority.
A fine of no less than Dh500,000 and not more than Dh2 million will be imposed on suppliers and registered merchants violating their obligations.
The law also stipulates that those who violate the electronic link with the competent authority, which seeks to ensure the continuous follow-up of quantities, varieties and status of the strategic stock of food commodities as well as the preservation and management of the strategic stock of food commodities, will be punished with a fine of not less than Dh100,000 and not more than Dh1 million. In the case of repeated violations, penalties prescribed for the crimes stipulated in this law will be doubled, the government said.
The law also specifies the powers of the Ministry of Economy to implement the provisions of the law.
Yusuffali MA, chairman, Lulu Group, said the law is the need of the hour. "Food security and sustained availability of essentials are of paramount importance. The timely steps and initiatives taken by the wise leadership are the prime reasons for the stability in the country even during this pandemic."
"As a retailer in the grocery sector, we can say with confidence that all our stores as well as warehouses are well-stocked and there is absolutely no reason for any anxiety or panic," said Yusuffali.
UAE ranking
The UAE, which ranks 31 in the Global Food Security Index, aims to make it within the top 10 by 2021 and to the first place by 2051. To attain that goal, the UAE, whose food imports currently stand at 90 per cent, plans a domestic production target of over 100,000 tons by 2021 while seeking to diversify with some food grown by its companies abroad and some imported from different sources.
Since the UAE imports 90 per cent of its food, food safety and security are the top priority. The annual food security costs of the country is Dh13 billion annually.
The Ministry of Economy also has jurisdiction to prepare reports, studies, statistics and the economic evaluation of the food commodities, estimate the volume of consumption, determine the surplus and deficit, prepare databases on the production and availability of food commodities in the country and countries of origin.
The ministry will then follow-up with suppliers, in addition to coordinating and implementing sustainability and safety policies for the strategic stock of food commodities, in coordination with the NCEMA, and the competent authority, to achieve a safe strategic stock of food commodities. 
- issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com



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