UAE may cap food prices of chicken, milk: Minister

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The UAE is considering capping prices of some foods such as chicken and milk, said Mariam Al Mheiri, the UAE’s Minister of State for Food Security.

“We are studying very carefully and we may need some adjustments, Al Mheiri said in an interview with Bloomberg. She said the price cap could apply to both local and imported products.

The UAE largely relies on food imports from other countries due to its arid climate and nominal rainfall, making it vulnerable to food price fluctuations. However, the UAE is now increasingly focusing on local production of food and vegetables in an effort to become self-reliant.

In a 2019 F&B report, Alpen Capital said that the UAE’s food consumption will grow at an annualised rate of 3.5 per cent from an estimated 8.7 million metric tonnes in 2018 to 10.3 million metric tonnes in 2023. Among the categories that will see the highest consumption growth in the UAE between 2018 to 2023 are dairy, cereals, fruits, meat, vegetables and others.

The UAE is the second largest market in the GCC for food and beverages, given its population base of 9.5 million. The demand for food is bound to pick up substantially this year as millions of people will flock to Dubai for the six-month long Expo 2020 exhibition, set to begin from October 2021.

“We’re being flooded with a lot of requests to start growing food in the desert. We’re now growing blueberries in the UAE, we’re growing quinoa, we’re growing salmon,” Almheiri was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

The minister said the country is open to lab-grown, or cell-based meats.

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