The F&B Networking Hub by SIAL Middle East – E-summit and Meetings has achieved record results during its virtual sessions, held on November 23.
Over 700 global experts and specialists from 65 countries, alongside 57 local and international media outlets, attended both the e-sessions and the Abu Dhabi Date Palm Virtual Platform.
The F&B Networking Hub by SIAL Middle East was designed and developed by the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Company (ADNEC), in collaboration with the Comexposium Group and the event’s strategic partners, the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority and the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation.
The event succeeded in attracting twice the number of sellers which were anticipated to participate in the platform meetings. Participating buyers increased by 438%, compared to expectations ahead of the event, for over 900 meetings over five days.
The virtual platform witnessed a significant international participation, with over 120 sellers from 20 countries, and 377 buyers from 45 countries. The event allowed exhibitors specialised in the food, beverage, hospitality, and the dates industry to meet virtually and conduct business. It was introduced as a response to ongoing global measures to limit the spread of Covid-19.
Buyers predominately came from the UAE, Israel, Egypt, the United Kingdom, and India. Meanwhile, sellers included representatives from Canada, Cameroon, Singapore, Malaysia, Palestine, South Korea, France, Afghanistan, Poland, Tunisia, South Africa, Russia, Egypt, Sudan, Morocco, Jordan, Italy, Mauritania, and the UAE.
Commenting on the event, Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Managing Director and Group CEO of ADNEC, said: “The success in the launch of this virtual platform, which has attracted an exceptional number of sellers, buyers, and global experts, demonstrates the strategic position of the UAE. It particularly underlines Abu Dhabi as an international destination for entrepreneurs and investors. It further reinforces ADNEC’s pioneering role, given our innovative technological infrastructure and our wide range of flexible facilities.
“The virtual platform, specialised in the food, beverage, and hospitality sectors has established today its position: a leading strategic contributor to enhancing global cooperation and enabling thought leader discussion and debate. Through this event, the sector is able to plan for the post COVID-19 phase, supporting the objectives of the National Food Security Strategy, and contributing to its strategic objectives in transferring and localising knowledge and attracting international expertise.”
The 19 speakers focused on the challenges facing the global food, beverage, hospitality, and dates industry following the pandemic, as well as the opportunities for the sector over the upcoming 24 months. Discussions focused on ongoing strategies and policies to meet the priorities of the National Food Security Strategy 2051.
Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb AlMheiri, Minister of State for Food and Water Security, delivered a welcoming speech, discussing ‘The Role of UAE in Supporting the Food Security Sector’. Subsequently, the opening session included His Excellency Saeed Al Bahri Salem Al Ameri, Director General of Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA), who discussed food control and ADAFSA’s strategy.
His Excellency Mohamed bin Obaid Al Mazrooei, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Arab Authority for Agricultural Investment and Development (AAAID), discussed ‘Agri-food Investment in the Arab World’; His Excellency Rashid Abdul Karim Al Balooshi, Undersecretary of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), spoke about ‘The Role of ADDED in Supporting the Agriculture and Food International Investors’.
The event included nine sessions. During the first session, His Excellency Salmeen Al Ameri, CEO of Al Dahra Agriculture Company, and Mansoor Al Marar, Acting Director of Commercial Zone Development at Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (KIZAD), discussed ‘Agri-food Growth and Entrepreneurship in the UAE’.
His Excellency Eng. Jamal Salem Al Dhaheri, CEO of Silal Food and Technology, and Mohamed Jouan Al Dhaheri, Chairman of RainMKRS Capital Investment LLC, led the second session, discussing technology-enabled food supply and production.
His Excellency Mohamed Helal Al-Muhairi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Chamber, chaired the third session. His Excellency discussed ‘Virtual Connections to Expand Trade Channels and Support Growing New Businesses’.
Subsequently, in the fourth session, His Excellency Dr. Abdelouahhab Zaid, Secretary General of the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation, discussed ‘Date Production and Export: from Local Traditions to Worldwide Expertise’.
In the fifth session, Mubarak Al Ameri, Executive Director of the Outreach Sector at the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, discussed ‘Entrepreneurship and Developing Thriving and Competitive SMEs in the UAE’. Dr. Heiko Borchert, Managing Director of Borchert Consulting and Research AG, spoke on food security and geoeconomic assertiveness during the sixth session.
Nicolas Trentesaux, the CEO of the SIAL Global Network, then discussed with participants ‘Predicting Food and Beverage Trends: The Role of Food Exhibitions in Supporting the Agri-Food Sector’, in the seventh session. The eighth session focused the hospitality sector, led by Jonathan Dowse, Executive Director at Capital Hospitality.
In the final session, Yusuff Ali, Chairman and Managing Director of LuLu Group International, and Katarzyna Rzeźniczek, First Counsellor and Representative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Abu Dhabi, discussed the topic ‘From Field to Fork – Maintaining Sustainability and the Highest Food & Drink Quality Standards in the Supply Chain’. Derar Al Manaseer, Director of Strategy Management & Excellence, Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC), delivered the closing remarks.
The strategic partners of F&B Networking Hub by SIAL Middle East – E-summit & Meetings are the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority and the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation. Abu Dhabi Chamber was the host sponsor, IMLO International the Diamond sponsor, and Lulu Group International the event’s retail partner.