UAE’s Native Produce: From Import Dependence to Sustainable Agriculture
Dubai-based serial entrepreneur Atul Chopra writes that the use of locally sourced produce in the UAE has been on the rise in recent years, with an increased focus on sustainability and the reduction of carbon footprint. Currently, only 20% of fruits and vegetables consumed in the UAE are grown locally, but this is changing as the local agricultural industry is increasing its contribution to the market. The UAE has more than 30,000 farms, and initiatives like hyper-local sourcing reduce the carbon footprint, improve the freshness of produce, reduce kitchen waste and increase the awareness of local produce. The hospitality industry is also playing a role in promoting local sourcing, with global hospitality chains like Hilton sourcing over 446 tons of local produce, resulting in a saving of CO2. Independent restaurants are more agile in implementing these changes, while larger chains are educating guests and improving their procurement methods. Climate change has brought attention to the need for food security and the importance of sustainable development goals.
The decision to commit to a sustainable strategy is a huge undertaking, for restaurant owners, chefs and operators; but we all have to start somewhere.
Currently, only 20 per cent of fruits and vegetables consumed in the UAE are grown locally, the rest are imported from around the world. According to the Abu Dhabi and Dubai Statistics Centres, the combined 2019 local production of crops, fruits, and vegetables amounted to 523,297 tonnes. In value terms, UAE imports almost USD 3.5 bn of fresh fruits and vegetables.
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Hotel Yearbook 2023
As we have embarked on 2023, it is evident that the hotel industry has made a robust recovery from the
Occupancy and pricing have returned to their pre-pandemic levels. However, the future of our
industry is contingent
on how nimble the hospitality sector can be in adapting to ongoing innovation, changing market
consumer preferences, new staffing challenges, and sustainability realities. These uncertainties are
the new normal
in an unpredictable world.