On 18 October 2021, the Director General of IOFS H.E. Mr. Yerlan A. Baidaulet another day of meetings in Dubai, UAE. The Head of delegation was accompanied by Kazakhstan’s General Consular to UAE Mr. Rauan Zhumabek and IOFS Program Manager Mr. Bakytzhan Arystanbek.
The Director General started his meetings by one with H.E. Mr. Fahad Al Gergawi, Chief Executive Officer of the Dubai FDI Office. Dubai FDI, part of the Department of Economic Development in Dubai, provides support to foreign businesses looking to invest in Dubai’s thriving economy, and considering the geographic and economic importance of Dubai in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, Dubai FDI also ensures creating favorable environment for worldwide investors to maintain their activities and operations.
The Director General of IOFS made an introduction about the organization, its institutional framework, the Vision 2031 and Strategic Programs under the implementation by the IOFS Secretariat. Particularly, it was noted that IOFS through implementing the program of IOFS on “National Food Sector Development” encourages intra-OIC trade and investments to build up value chains of domestic food processing, sales networks and develop food clusters, incl. basic agriculture and logistics. At the end of the meeting, the heads of delegations signed the Memorandum of Understanding between IOFS and Dubai FDI that will ensure sharing the experience and contribution to the development of the directory on food-related project investments and conceptualize together on appropriate investment promotion strategies to support local food clusters. The Dubai FDI Office expressed its readiness to involve in the implementation of IOFS programs. Also, given the fact that H.E. Mr. Fahad Al Gergawi is also the President of World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA), the parties also discussed the areas of mutual cooperation between IOFS and WAIPA and possibility of concluding MoU between IOFS and WAIPA.
Following the day program, the IOFS delegation met representatives of the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology of the United Arab Emirates led by H.E. Mrs. Farah Al Zarooni, Assistant Undersecretary. The Ministry currently includes under its structure the Departments of Regulation and Standardization that was been separate organization as the Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology that works on ensuring competence of conformity assessment bodies (CABs) operating in the UAE, building confidence in conformity results issued by accredited CABs and agreeing on mutual recognition agreements (MRA) with international organizations working in this field.
The Director General of IOFS presented the IOFS Strategic Vision and its programming activities by emphasizing the program of “Food Safety and Halal Food”. In fact, the IOFS actively works on the integration of countries' interests on mutual recognition of national standards and developing a clear and scientifically based methodology. H.E. Mrs. Farah Al Zarooni confirmed the involvement of Ministry specialists in IOFS activities. Besides, the parties agreed to consider the possibility of organizing training programmes aimed at raising the technical capabilities of OIC countries under the multilateral umbrella of the IOFS with focus and reviewing the requirements for accrediting halal certification bodies, as well as halal system and standards related to halal products and services, that consequently contributes to expand the economic, commercial and technical cooperation and improving trade exchange opportunities between the OIC member countries.
At the end of the day, the Director General conducted an extensive meeting with the delegation of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Center (FCSC) headed by its Acting Director H.E. Mrs. Hanan Mansoor Ahli. FCSC aims to develop and enhance the UAE’s performance in the areas of global competitiveness, statistics and data, and to support the country's achieving UAE’s Centennial Plan 2071. The Director General of IOFS by making the general presentation about the IOFS, its Vision 2031 and current programmes, he highlighted the necessity of considering to establish an OIC Food Security Index that shall give better understanding about the state of food security in OIC region, and provide the right recommendations and ways of solution for member states on maintaining the sustainable food systems. The parties has agreed to work closely in identifying and developing specific indicators to maintain the agricultural database necessary to measure food balance, set up early precaution system from unexpected shocks, ensure the sustainability of agricultural ecosystem.
In the next day, on 19 October 2021, the IOFS delegation attended the Future Food Forum 2021 with the theme “Transforming the Future of Food and Beverage Manufacturing” organized by the UAE Food & Beverage Manufacturers Group (FBMG), which is an association that brings together all food and beverage manufacturing firms in UAE. Formed in 2012, under the auspices of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, the FBMG is committed to the development of the food and beverage industry; it also provides a platform for firms to cooperate and resolve some of the key challenges faced by the food and beverages industry in the region.
The Director General of IOFS, H.E. Mr. Yerlan A. Baidaulet delivered a speech accompanied by the presentation titled “Ensuring Sustainable Livestock Ecosystem through the Multilateral Umbrella of IOFS”. The IOFS Livestock Ecosystem comprises from the implementation of 9 out of 16 IOFS programs that incorporates the Concept “From Gene to Fork” modality. The implementation of programs and projects under the Livestock Ecosystem enhance domestic livestock sector for economic prosperity and food security; increase of intra OIC livestock production and market through mutual trade and investments; support to smallholder farmers and livelihoods; food safety and Halal compliance assurance; as well as long-term off take contracts between livestock producing MCs and livestock consuming MCs. In the margins of the Forum, the Director General of IOFS conducted working meetings with Mr. Saleh Lootah, the Chairman of the UAE Food & Beverage Manufacturers Group and Mr. Essa Al Ghurair, the Chairman of Essa Al Ghurair Investments, Mr. Alan Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Agthia Group PJSC for reviewing opportunities to become members and/or partners of International IFPA and forming a wider alliance in specific regions of mutual interest across the IOFS/OIC markets.