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Setting up your Agritech business in Dubai

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The UAE is a place that knows how to create opportunities where there are none. Agritech, in this case, is no exception. Because of the UAE’s harsh, scorching heat, growing food can be a bit of a challenge. As a result, the UAE’s food imports reached no less than 7.6 billion dirhams in 2019, according to Statista. At the same time, in 2020, Jafza recorded a 24% growth in food and agriculture.

The Jebel Ali Free Zone has a dedicated food and agriculture cluster of 1.57 million square metres with over 550 companies from more than 70 countries. 

We have explored ways to further facilitate food trade and distribution while maintaining the continuity of food supply, which is crucial to the UAE and the region. Our mandate is to prioritise the needs of citizens and residents, and we have worked towards sustainability, ensuring sufficient food is available.

Mohammed Al Muallem, Executive VP, DP World

Agritech and businesses in the food and beverage sector thrive, not just in Jafza’s ecosystem, but in Dubai en masse. Below is an elaboration on how this industry is geared to grow.

Food Tech Valley

According to The National News, the UAE is currently building its own Dubai-based agritech city. The Food Tech Valley was launched on Saturday, May 1 2021, by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. It is a partnership between the Ministry of Food and Water Security and Wasl Properties to explore the future and urban planning of smart and self-sufficient cities.

The city is planned to increase the United Arab Emirate’s annual crops using vertical farming besides other food-growing technologies. It is also planned to be dedicated to research as it is to food production, and growing food in arid weather will be its main focus. According to Minister of State for Food Security Mariam Al Mheiri, ‘Agritech will help to increase [the UAE’s] domestic food production while minimising the use of water, one of the scarcest resources in [the] region’.

It also helps that ‘agriculture was one of the sectors for which 100 per cent foreign ownership has recently been allowed,’ reports Chandra Dake, CEO of Dake Rechsand. By opening the door to experts and investors from all over the world, the UAE has established agritech as a top booming and fast-growing industry.

Setting up your agritech business in Dubai

There has never been a better time to own an agritech business in Dubai. So, it’s important that you do it right and take all the time you need to know the steps and paperwork to set up an agritech business in Dubai. The following are two things to look out for:

1. A jurisdiction

As Bizzmosis advises, the first thing is to inquire about is the right type of jurisdiction from among Dubai’s three: mainland, free zone, and offshore. For agritech, you have the mainland and free zone jurisdictions to choose from. Before you make your choice, understand the difference between both types in relation to your business.

2. A trade license

Agriculture licenses in Dubai can be obtained through the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment. Based on your agricultural activity, you apply for an agricultural license, such as the plant nursery or the agricultural activity practice license. You can also always apply for the organic food certification issued by the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA). This helps distinguish you from the competition and establish you as a leading name in the constantly growing field of agritech.

Hiring a professional business consultant may sound like a waste of time and money. However, it’s better to do things right from the very beginning than to spend your precious time and money fixing them. This way, you can enter the agritech market with zero worries and all the motivation you will need to grow your business and make an impact.

If you choose Jafza, you’ll join some of the region’s top players in the industry, such as Bayara, Al Khaleej Sugar, Alokozay, Nestle, Heinz, Unilever, and Hunter Foods, all of which have chosen Jafza as home to their businesses. Jafza’s strategic location and premium facilities have made it the preferred destination for many countries globally. Learn more about how Jafza can help set up your food and agriculture business in Dubai.

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