The Netherlands Pavilion hosts pioneers from Gulf food industries in the UAE


Dubai, UAE:  The Netherlands being the second largest agri-food products exporter worldwide successfully participated with over 25 Dutch companies in the Gulfood Manufacturing that was held recently at the Dubai Trade Centre. The event saw multisector suppliers from the Netherlands representing ingredients, processing, packaging, printing & labelling, automation, supply chain and warehousing.

Following this event, the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands – Agriculture & Food Department organized a seminar with prominent officials from the UAE food industry at the Netherlands Pavilion Expo 2020 Dubai.

Maarten Froger, Deputy Consul General of the Netherlands Consulate, Dubai said: “To feed and secure a growing world population, we need to rethink the way we use scarce resources. To meet the growing demand for water, energy and food, we must find a balance between maintaining resources long-term and maximizing what we use for a sustainable future and circular economy”. He emphasized the importance of tackling these global issues together and as a part of a multi-year campaign, the Netherlands pavilion is a platform to showcase Dutch expertise and connect with the world to address these challenges.

Erik Smidt, the Agricultural Counsellor for the GCC, elaborated on the opportunities of introducing Dutch technologies to contribute to the food security and sustainability in the UAE. He stressed that the Netherlands has a lot to offer regarding strengthening agri-food value chains. The biotope in the Netherlands’ Pavilion is the manifestation of the integral solutions that the Netherlands has to offer.

The seminar hosted five speakers: Sumeet Mathur, Managing Director of Friesland Campina for the Middle East & North Africa, spoke about Sustainability in Food Security. He described about the various opportunities in the dairy sector in UAE.

Dr. Ahmed Etigani, CEO of Al-Rawabi Dairy Farm, talked about a new project related to fattening farm, biogas and the dairy market in the UAE and the potential cooperation with the Netherlands.

Willem Van Walt Meijer, CEO of  Al-Ain Dairy Farm gave an informative presentation about Camel Milk and the competitive advantages of the unique UAE product.

Dr. Suheel Ahmed, CEO of Arabian Farms, presented on the usage of technology in packing & packaging machineries and its efficiency in contributing to the food security and food safety in general.

Last but not least, Mike Vermeer, Senior Innovation Manager of Royal Cosun, shared a future food outlook for 2030 with the audience.

Following the speakers’ speeches, they engaged in a panel discussion in which they touched upon topics revolving water scarcity, climate challenges, waste management of packaging, and discussing prospective local food systems. The panel managed to draw the audience in a meaningful discussion. The main take-away of the event was to do more sustainable initiatives with limited and efficient usage of scarce resources and to improve the technologies that we have available for resilient food systems.

About the Netherlands Pavilion:

The Netherlands Pavilion, located at the Sustainability District at Expo 2020 Dubai, is open to visitors starting from 1st October 2021 until 31st March 2022. The pavilion has a giant green food cone known as the ‘Biotope’ as the centre of attraction. The 18m vertical farm is covered with 9300 edible plants and irrigated with the harvested water from the air (approx. 1200 litres daily) using innovative Dutch technologies. With these high-tech advancements and more in offering, the pavilion aims to be a true platform for sustainability and circularity initiatives thereby, enabling visitors to experience the Netherlands’ expertise in uniting water, energy and food. Dutch businesses, knowledge institutions and civil society organisations have specific knowledge and proficiency in these fields and can therefore, play a key role in finding solutions that contribute to a more sustainable planet. Possessing a naturally controlled climate, the pavilion’s structure is constructed using locally sourced materials that will be recycled after Expo period, minimizing its ecological footprint.