Published: Sep 18, 2014
Source: Saudi Gazette

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KSA injects $11b into aquaculture projects

The GCC’s rising per capita seafood consumption will come under the microscope at this year’s SEAFEX 2014, as a host of regional and international aquaculture companies showcase technologies - such as hatcheries, harvesting of plants and animals, processing and trading - designed to enhance future production of regional seafood products.

According to a report by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Agriculture invested an additional $10.6 billion into aquaculture projects to produce one million tons of fish in the next 16 years. 

Significantly, the GCC’s per capita average seafood consumption is expected to increase year-on-year in-line with Gulf countries’ population growth - the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) forecasts the GCC population will reach 53.5 million by 2020 – rapid economic development, market demand and robust regional logistics capabilities. To meet the increasing regional demand for seafood, various GCC governments have already implemented developmental initiatives designed to foster greater domestic production. 

In Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman, more investments are being directed towards aquaculture - the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of plants and animals in all types of water environments including ponds, rivers, lakes and the ocean. The main aquaculture producers in the region are Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Meanwhile, GCC countries are starting to invest in aquaculture projects to meet the rising seafood consumption; the Middle East - particularly the GCC – saw its per capita average seafood consumption almost double from 2010 to 2013. With the regional average only 14.4kg per year back in 2010, the UAE and Oman’s per capita seafood consumption were among the world’s highest at 28.6kg per year last year, FAO report said.

In line with regional eating habits, the 2014 edition of SEAFEX – the region's biggest international trade fair for the seafood industry – is 56 percent larger than its launch event in 2012. 

“Our largest edition of SEAFEX underlines its position as a strategic platform supporting the region’s growing seafood requirements,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, DWTC. “The show is widely-regarded for facilitating trade and delivering exceptional business opportunities in a market top of attention for global manufacturers. 

The exhibition, which brings together international exhibitors from seafood-related industries including hotels, restaurants, caterers, retailers, wholesalers, distributors and food processors, will tackle the increasing requirements of regional producers, buyers and suppliers, as well as showcase a broad range of new-to-market seafood products.

With more than 100 exhibitors from 22 countries confirming participation in the Nov. 9 -11 show at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), new pavilions include Greece, Spain, Peru, Chile, Thailand and Taiwan. Regional aquaculture projects will take center-stage at this year’s event with Emirates Aquatech, the world’s largest sustainable caviar farm, exhibiting alongside ASMAK, the region’s largest aquaculture player, and Gulf Seafood, one of the Middle East’s leading seafood processors. 

Open from 10 a.m-6 p.m. on Nov. 9-10 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Nov.11, SEAFEX is organized alongside The Speciality Food Festival and Sweets and Snacks Middle East. The three niche food shows are for trade and business professionals only.

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