The GCC's regional food import bill will rise to over $53 billion by 2020 as its soaring population has resulted in imported products accounting for up to 90 percent of all food supplies, it has been announced.
Food security and the associated costs of importing food into the region will top the agenda at SIAL Middle East, which returns to Abu Dhabi on November 24-26.
The event takes place as recent figures by the Economist Intelligence Unit forecast GCC food import demand to hit $53.1 billion by 2020, up from $25.8 billion just a decade ago.
It said the region will have 80-90 percent reliance on imported foodstuffs, adding the impact of price increases caused by poor harvests, political instability, supply chain interruptions and a non-agricultural landscape could have devastating long term food security consequences.
"Food security throughout the region will no doubt once again dominate show floor discussion, as regional demand for food imports rises due to an expanding population expected to reach 50 million by 2020, a booming tourism industry, increasing per capita income and limited water resources," said Mohammed Jalal Al Rayssi, director of Communication and Community Service Division at Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) and chairman of the SIAL Middle East organizing committee.