Fifty Sri Lankan companies participated at the Gulfood 2015 in Dubai from 8-12 February displaying food and beverage products such as tea, spices, processed food, soft drinks, biscuits, virgin coconut oil, dried fruit, herbal products, etc.
The Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) in collaboration with the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Dubai organised two country pavilions for tea and other food items. Gulf Food is the fast growing international trade fair for the food and beverage sector and the biggest in the MENA region.
Five days exhibition attracted 4800 companies from across the world including Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Australia, the UK, the United States, France and Germany among other countries.
Many exporters attended the show were looking for distributors not only in the UAE, but also from the regional countries. The UAE is a hub for re-exports which makes it attractive for international companies that want to expand their operations in the region beyond the UAE market.
Apart from the exhibition, Gulfood hosted a variety of conferences including the Halal Investment Conference which discussed business opportunities in the global halal market and the role of halal in Dubai’s vision to be the capital of the Islamic Economy. Meanwhile the World Food Security Summit highlighted the food security concerns in the region and Food Franchising Forum discussed ways to create a successful franchise in the global market by foreign companies.
The Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Dubai in association with Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone Authority organised a Business Networking Dinner on 10 February at Crown Plaza Hotel inviting UAE based companies, members of the Sri Lanka Business Councils and the Sri Lankan professional organisations in UAE. Speaking at the occasion, Abdul Raheem, Consul General of Sri Lanka in Dubai stated that larger participation of Sri Lankan food exporters at the Gulf Food 2015 showed the increasing interest of Sri Lankan exporters to venture into UAE market as well as the Middle East and North Africa region. He encouraged more Sri Lankan companies to set up their business in Dubai as the city being the transit trading hub in the region. Wasim Khan, Head of Global Business Development from the Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone Authority, made a presentation on cost effective business operation in the UAE.
Air Arabia, which flies daily to Sri Lanka from Sharjah, sponsored two return air tickets for the winners of the raffle at the Business Networking Dinner.