Dubai Food Park (DFP), the region’s largest specialised zone dedicated to serving the rapidly growing food sector, has signed a deal with China's Ningxia Forward Fund Management Company to build a world-class China-UAE Food Industrial cluster in Dubai at an investment of Dh1.35 billion ($367 million).
The DFP is being developed on a 48-million-sq-ft area near the Expo 2020 site at an estimated cost of Dh5.5 billion ($1.5 billion). The first-of-its-kind project is aimed at boosting the emirate’s status as a regional hub for food sector.
The strategic agreement will consolidate China’s stake in the burgeoning Middle East food industry and expand bilateral relations further, reported state news agency Wam.
Spread over an area of 4.38 million square feet, the China-UAE Food Industrial cluster will be home to 30 food plants, including two Chinese catering companies and two advanced manufacturing plants for food packaging materials.
The project is scheduled to be completed 24 months after it starts construction, it stated.
The agreement was signed by Abdulla Belhoul, the chief executive of Dubai Wholesale City, and a representative from Ningxia Forward Fund Management Company, on the sidelines of the third edition of the China–Arab States Expo in China’s northwest autonomous region of Ningxia.
The project will have six major components: meals processing, packaged food processing, cold chain storage, production of food packages, e-commerce and commodities exhibition, and bio-safety disposal of waste water and wastes.
Food processing will be the plant’s main operation. At least 75 per cent of the total project area will be allocated for factories, 17 per cent for warehouses and 8 per cent will be divided between offices and other facilities, stated the Wam report.
Belhoul said this agreement comes at an important time, given the urgent global need to enhance collaboration on food security by increasing the physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food.
"The partnership marks a step forward in strengthening bilateral relations at various levels, particularly trade and economic relations between the UAE and China," he stated.
"In line with the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030, once complete, the cluster will include a globally important, modern, low-carbon, and digital food processing and trading center in the Middle East that will integrate the processing of meals, the processing of packaged food, cold chain storage, production of food packages, e-commerce and commodities exhibition, bio-safety disposal of waste water and solid waste," he added.
Abdulla Al Habbai, the chairman of Dubai Holding, said: "The partnership between DFP and the Chinese firm reflects the global interest in entering Dubai, and the UAE markets will benefit from the country’s world-class ground, marine and aerial infrastructure, as well as its strategic location at the crossroads between East and West."
"Through this new synergy, we aspire to cement long-standing relations with China to ensure sustainable development of both our countries," he added.