GCC organic farming market to reach $1.5bn

Updated 22 April 2015

GCC organic farming market to reach $1.5bn

The gradual shift of the consumer’s preference for organic food and products in the Middle East and the current position of UAE as the second largest market for organic food has made this sector integral to the country, said a top official.
“It is our goal to promote and become one of the major pillars for the organic food sector in the coming years,” said Saud Salim Al-Mazrouei, director of Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA) and Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone).
The director led a delegation to London to participate in the Natural & Organic Products Europe exhibition that concluded in London recently.
“HFZA’s participation in this year’s Natural & Organic Products is a start for us to understand the sector further and interact with potential investors,” he said.
Quoting a report by Frost and Sullivan, Al-Mazrouei said that organic farming in the GCC is set to reach $1.5 billion by 2018, driven by evolving consumer tastes and change in health habits.
In the UAE, the number of organic farms rose to 39 at the end of 2013, covering a total of 3,920 hectares, compared with just 218 hectares in 2007, he said.
In general, the demand for organic food in the Middle East and North Africa is increasing.
“HFZA is facilitating the set-up of more food industries in the zone to increase their growth in the MENA region, because of the strategic position and advantages it has to offer, in addition to which it is noteworthy that UAE is emerging as a major food re-exporting hub in the World, making HFZA all the more attractive as a destination for investors to expand there business and tap in to new business opportunities through the region.”
The Natural & Organic Products Europe exhibition that took place at ExCeL London, featured an unprecedented 600 exhibitors showcasing thousands of natural and organic brands — including supplements, botanicals, superfoods, homeopathic remedies, personal care and beauty, eco-household, and food and drink.
More than 10,000 people visited the event this year, renowned for attracting key buyers and decision makers from the food, beauty, health and eco-label categories.
“The event provided a good window for HFZA to introduce its capabilities and facilities to potential investors and exhibitors from other countries like the US, Poland, France, Italy, Sicily and many others,” said Ali Al-Jarwan, deputy commercial director of HFZA.


Scammers fool Britons with investment firm clones, says trade body

Updated 11 min 8 sec ago

Scammers fool Britons with investment firm clones, says trade body

LONDON: More than 200 British retail investors have lost nearly 10 million pounds ($13.4 million) in total to sophisticated investment scams since a government lockdown in March to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, a trade body said on Saturday.
Fraudsters cloned genuine investment management firms’ websites and documentation, and advertised fake products on sham price comparison websites and on social media, the Investment Association said.
Greater financial uncertainty and more time spent online have likely contributed to the increase in scams, industry sources say.
Losses amounted to 9.4 million pounds ($12.56 million) between March and mid-October, the IA said, based on information it got from member firms which had been cloned.
“In a year clouded in uncertainty, organized criminals have sought opportunity in misfortune by attempting to con investors out of their hard-earned savings,” Chris Cummings, chief executive of the Investment Association said.
The investment management industry was working closely with police and regulators to stop the scams, he added.
Britain’s Action Fraud warned earlier this month that total reported losses from all types of investment fraud came to 657 million pounds between September 2019 and September 2020, a rise of 28% from a year ago. Reports spiked between May and September, following Britain’s first national lockdown, the national fraud and cybercrime reporting center added.