Bahrain’s food usage rate to top CAGR of 2pc
Dubai, May 19, 2013
Bahrain’s food consumption is projected to grow at a CAGR of 2.1 per cent during 2012–17, with cereals and milk are likely to remain the leading food segments in terms of consumption, followed by vegetables, fruits, and meat, a report said.
In 2010, at 0.05 million tonnes, Bahrain produced the least food in the GCC region, during which, it consumed 0.5 million tonnes of food across categories, added the GCC Food Industry Report.
Being the most populous country (65 per cent of GCC population), Saudi Arabia is the largest food consumer in the GCC region. In 2010, Saudi Arabia accounted for 62.0 per cent of the total GCC food consumption, followed by UAE (20 per cent), Oman (7.1 per cent), Kuwait (5.9 per cent), Qatar (3.7 per cent) and Bahrain (1.3 per cent).
Bahrain is likely to further strengthen its position as the third largest tourist destination in the GCC. Over 2012-2017, number of foreign tourist arrival in Bahrain is likely to grow at a CAGR of 2.9 per cent to 7.3 million in 2017. This would again boost the demand for food products across categories in the country.
Food security initiatives
Bahrain allocated $174.0 million of food subsidies (for red meat, poultry and flour industries) in 2013, up from $145.8 million allocated in the previous year. The government has mentioned that the amount of subsidy on these basic staples will continue in 2014.
Moreover, the country’s noteworthy projects in terms of enhancing food security and agricultural investment include the fish farming company Asmak Aquaculture Company and a new poultry company that was built for BD2.5 million ($6.6 million).
The ministry also aims to propel food security by providing private lands for aquaculture and poultry cultivation projects. This will meet demand for the hatching, cultivation, production and sale of fresh, chilled and frozen fish and poultry.
In addition, the country has invested in overseas projects in Sudan, Pakistan, Turkey, Thailand, Philippines, Ethiopia, India and Turkey by purchasing and privatizing large strips of agricultural land that are registered in Bahrain's name.
Over the last decade, the GCC fast food industry has grown at an astronomical rate, particularly in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Various factors have contributed to this rapid growth, which includes rising affluence level, young population, urbanization, hectic lifestyle, and increasing participation in workforce.
Furthermore, with decreasing outdoor activities, people prefer spending more time in malls. Incidentally, malls across the GCC region house fast food chains from all over the world. In addition, rise in number of business visitors and international tourists are contributing to the demand for fast food in the region.
Over the past decade, the demand for food products across the GCC region has remained strong. Consumption of food products in the region has increased from an average of 28.9 million metric tonnes in 1999 to 38.8 million metric tonnes by 2010, thus growing at a CAGR of 2.7 per cent.
Various factors that fuelled the demand for food products include: rising affluence levels, growing population, urbanization and proliferation of organized retail.
Rising population and per capita income in GCC has led to unprecedented growth in food consumption over the last decade. However, with limited production, and over-reliance on imports, GCC nations are increasingly witnessing a strain on their food supply.
Besides the unfavourable climatic conditions, limited agricultural resources and higher import dependency are the key challenges to food security in the GCC region.
With limited production capacity, countries in the GCC region import food products from across the globe to meet domestic consumption. However, changing climatic conditions across the globe, along with rising food prices, make GCC highly vulnerable to any adverse food trend globally.
Thus, the GCC governments must take necessary steps to ensure smooth imports and boost domestic production. In addition, they must take necessary steps such as entering into long-term agreement with crop producing nations for an enduring food supply. Besides, they should invest abroad or find a solution within to ensure that the food supply remains uninterrupted.
The GCC region is one of the wealthiest in the world, with oil production at the top of the export list. However, when it comes to producing food, the GCC countries lag behind greatly, making its dependence on imported food essential. Nearly 70 per cent of the food requirements in the GCC are imported. – TradeArabia News Service
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