(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Further investment in the United Arab Emirates' agriculture sector will support the country's commitment to sustainable development, Minister of Environment and Water Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad said on Tuesday.
Delivering the keynote speech to delegates at the Third Annual Fertilizer Convention, hosted by the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association and CRU Events in Dubai, the minister said that the industry's expansion was aligned with the national strategy for a green economy, launched earlier this year by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
"The UAE has supported the fertilizer industry since the first factory opened in the country in 1977...Ongoing development will not only see the expansion of capacity but also further advances in health and safety and environmental performance." The growth of the regional fertilizer sector would bolster world food security and stimulate national economies in the GCC, the minister added.
Gulf fertilizer manufacturers are winning a growing share of the global market as new facilities come on stream. The GPCA estimates that annual output will reach 32 million metric tons by 2016, compared with 21 million tons last year. Within five years, the region is set to corner 36 per cent of global urea exports and a quarter of the world trade in phosphate fertilizers.
"GCC states have successfully converted their gas and sulphur feedstock advantage into a high-value downstream industry responsible for a significant proportion of the region's non-oil exports and providing much needed local jobs," said Dr. Abdulwahab Al Sadoun, General Secretary of the GPCA.
"With the industry growing at around 7.5pct a year, Gulf manufacturers can establish the region as a global hub for fertilizers and play an increased role in meeting world food demand, expected to increase 70pct by 2050.
"Delegates at this year's convention will examine strategies to reach this next level of development and negotiate challenges including pressure on gas demand, supply chain constraints, and price uncertainty in the wake of the economic downturn." The Third Annual GPCA Fertilizer Convention, which began on September 17 with a pre-event workshop and runs until September 19, has received more than 300 delegates from across the Gulf and key export markets, including Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America.
Organizations speaking at the convention include the International Fertilizer Industry Association, SABIC, Ma'aden, GPIC, CNIC, EtherChem, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and the Iraq Geological Survey.
Topics under discussion include improving energy consumption and further reducing environmental impacts, as well as strategies to increase value creation through fertilizers in Gulf and overseas markets.
"The convention is the ideal platform to share expertise, experience and new ideas, to realize our shared goals of enhanced food security and sustainable development," said Dr. Al Sadoun of the GPCA.
The Third Annual GPCA Convention is being held at the InterContinental Hotel at Dubai Festival City, on the theme 'Transforming Sustainable Development into Value Creation'.