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Organic Foods in UAE Set to Soar
Jun 20, 2007

Officials are ruling out the possibility that reduced sales of organic food in some supermarkets are acting as deterrent to organic agriculture in UAE.

Gulf News published news reporting officials are ruling out the possibility that reduced sales of organic food in some supermarkets are acting as deterrent to organic agriculture in UAE and stressing on the wide availability of homegrown organic produce for residents.

Though Dubai and Sharjah now have three specialized organic stores but few supermarkets with a section for organic products have reported a decline in sales. In contrast, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Ministry of Environment and Water in the UAE, organic agriculture in the country is expected to boom in 2008.

Gulf News published a statement by Dr Riad Obaldi from the Organic Farming Unit at the Ministry of Environment and Water stating, "There is a high chance that organic farmers will do well. Their earnings will be better than they have been, but we need more awareness."

The news published on Gulf News also quoted Kamal Vachani, director Al Maya Supermarkets saying, "We stock mainly organic vegetables but sales have gone down. We will keep organic produce in one or two branches where people ask for it, to offer a range to our customers but only in small quantities. I guess it will take time for people to know more about it."

UAE organic food manufacturers opine that at present, UAE is not much aware about the organic food and beverages; it has just started to catch the fancy of people. Manufacturers are of the belief that organic foods have the potential to rapidly develop into a lucrative market for them. With high disposable incomes, growing awareness about food and health issues and more and more expatriates familiarized with organic produce, organics in the Gulf is on an upward move.

As per a research analyst at
RNCOS, the increasingly discerning behaviour of consumers in the region regarding what they eat make public education and awareness initiatives vital for the growth of organic products in the market. There are high chances that the consumers would willingly pay for organic foods despite the higher cost that are around 20% to 40% more expensive than conventional foods. The change may well take in a couple of years although the numerous efforts are being made by the government to spread awareness. There is also heightened interest among people affected by the repeated food contamination scandals.

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