The Australian state of New South Wales (NSW), home to the city of Sydney, showcased its world-class agrifood innovation and manufacturing capabilities in an effort to further strengthen its ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at a VIP dinner event held at the Australia Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.
The event was led by the newly appointed NSW Senior Trade Commissioner to India and the Middle East, Mr Vish Padmanabhan and Mr Moin Anwar, NSW Trade and Investment Commissioner for UAE and highlighted NSW’s prominent companies in agtech, food & beverages and prime investment opportunities.
The event marked the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between NSW and the UAE Food & Beverage Manufacturers Group (FBMG), further cementing NSW’s commitment to the region and creating future sector opportunities between the two parties.
Chairman of the UAE FBMG, His Excellency Saleh Lootah said the MoU marks a significant and inspiring shift on how the UAE and NSW will work together.
“In a rapidly changing market landscape, the ways of working need to be different than before. We must become more agile, flexible and relevant to the new reality. We will proactively join hands to bring food and beverage manufacturers from UAE and NSW together to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.”
Mr Padmanabhan also echoed the sentiment of collaboration in his address. “Between the effects of the pandemic and climate change, the need for innovation and collaboration in food security has never been more critical.”
“NSW has a long-standing reputation for high-quality, safe and sustainable food and beverage products, established freight networks and advanced research and manufacturing capabilities. There is no better time for NSW to go global,” Mr Padmanabhan said.
The event was attended by government and high-ranking officials from Australia and the Middle East including His Excellency Ian Halliday, Australian Consul General – Dubai; Mr Justin McGowan, Australian Commissioner General for Expo 2020 Dubai; Mr Ahmed Saeed Belyouha, Chairman of Emirates Macaroni Factory and UAE FMBG Board Member; Mr Mohammed Al Ghurair, Vice-Chair of Essa Al Ghurair Investment, Mr Khaleefa Al Romaithi, Director – Government Affairs for Silal Food and Technology and Mr Mohamed Hage, Vice-Chair of the Australia Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The event also saw six NSW companies pitched their businesses to the buyers, investors, distributors and retailers present in the audience. Selected via competitive qualifying events, the three agritech companies and three food and beverage companies were assisted by NSW Government to produce professional videos to support their pitch at the dinner event.
Along with increasing its export and commercial footprint in the Middle East, NSW is increasingly attracting overseas investment in dedicated agribusiness and freight precincts.
“NSW is creating a world-class agribusiness precinct in the Western Sydney Aerotropolis that will support production of sustainable, high-quality, fresh produce and pre-prepared consumer foods, boosted by the high-speed supply chain capability of the new 24/7 international airport due to open in 2026.”
“We are also developing regional Special Activation Precincts strategically located near major commodity growing regions with access to global transport and logistics and research and development capability,” Mr Padmanabhan said.
NSW is home to four of Australia’s top 10 universities, many of whom feature in the top 100 universities in the world and is supported by the NSW Government’s Department of Primary Industries agritech initiative, Global Agtech Ecosystem (GATE), which is ranked in the top 1% of agri research organisations worldwide.