Middle East Congress - New in 2005

The Middle East Congress, powered by Eurofruit Magazine, is the new conference and networking event for the international fresh produce business in the Middle East, one of the new emerging markets for fresh fruit and vegetables.

Dubai, one of the region's most vibrant commercial centres, is the location for the event, which takes place at the Grand Hyatt Dubai from 5-7 September 2005.

Delegates attending the Middle East Congress can stay at the congress hotel at specially reduced rates, taking advantage of deluxe accommodation and extensive facilities during the conference itself and for social meetings outside the official conference programme.

The Middle East Congress offers the best opportunities to meet and do business with the widest number of key fresh produce professionals from the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, Australia, New Zealand and Africa.

The conference event offers unrivalled networking opportunities with hour-long networking breaks, informal buffet lunch and cocktail evenings after the conference sessions have closed for the day.

Tours to the Dubai wholesale market at Al-Aweer, the new, state-of-the-art Dubai Flower Centre and to a local supermarket are also scheduled.

For More information and registration visit http://www.mideastcongress.com

Fruit market relocation put off
AL AWIR MARKET TO BE FUNCTIONAL AFTER PEAK-SALE SEASON; TRADERS WELCOME MOVE

By Bassma Al Jandaly (Staff Reporter) GULF NEWS on Monday, December 8, 2003

Al Hamriyah Fruit and Vegetable Market is now expected to stay at its current location for another four months, despite earlier plans to move to Al Awir on January 2.

Officials from Dubai Municipality concede that it might be difficult for market traders to move early in the new year as it coincides with the peak sales season.

The civic body will issue a decision following detailed discussions with a committee of traders.

Stall holders have voiced their fears over the timing of the move and say that a delay would allow other work to be finished, such as the second phase of labour accommodation at the new market which is not yet ready.

In addition, they want enhanced fittings and a better decor throughout their shops. While this is work they would do at their own expense, they say it is very difficult to find a contracting company prepared to finish the work within such a limited time.

Traders from Al Hamriyah Fruit and Vegetable Market, who are paying "inflated" sums to replace their old shops, have urged the civic body to be more flexible.

Speaking to Gulf News, some cited the fact that officials were obliged to work in cooperation with them, according to the directives of General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Defence Minister, who is keen to make the move to the new market a hassle-free exercise.

Qassim Sultan, Director General of the municipality, paid a visit to the site of the new Dh152-million Dubai Central Fruit and Vegetable Market in Al Awir on the Emirates Road last month and ordered that all the construction work should be completed before the move takes place.

One trader said: "We were told to pack up and leave before January 2 because demolition work at the site would start the same day. On the other hand, the officials of the municipality said the new market is designed to meet the requirements of the emirate's fruit and vegetables trade until 2012."

He added that the municipality is putting the final touches to the new market. All the shops, stalls, offices, buildings and other facilities in the area are ready.

The only unfinished parts are the second phase of the Dh17-million labour camp for up to 2,500 workers, which is expected to be ready by April 22.

It caters to people employed by market traders, as well as the municipality workers and truck drivers. Its four three-storey buildings will each have 70 rooms. Each room can accommodate up to eight people. There will be facilities such as common kitchens, dining halls and bathrooms.

There will also be a 100-room motel for truck drivers, a cafeteria, residential quarters for those working in the market, a mosque, car services and petrol stations, garbage collection areas, a police station, a civil defence unit, a post office, a bank, a supermarket, a pharmacy and restaurants.

The municipality is also finalising the construction works on buildings to be occupied by the shop owners offices, shops and an administrative section all built at a cost of Dh15 million. There will also be a mosque big enough for 1,000 people.

An Enoc petrol station will be created, along with a new Dubai Civil Defence station, while a Dubai Co-operative Union has taken shape.

The final stages of a Dh2.6-million sewage network are now ready and the municipality is in the final stages of landscaping, installing signposts and other extras.

Each shop in the wholesale market is provided with two parking lots each for loading and unloading goods. Centralised refrigerators and warehouses will also be set up in this section. There will be an area assigned for the trucks to queue up before entering the direct trading zone. This section will include a zone for buyers and retail traders.

More than Dh140 million was earned from public auctions for the 132 shops, cold stores, stalls, 'bastas' (racks for vendors), restaurants, cafes and office space.

Stores with an area of only 192 square metres were auctioned for Dh4.89 million, while stores with an area of 102 square metres were sold for a floor price of Dh1.95 million.

Some wholesale shops were auctioned for Dh1.26 million, while the bastas, with an area ranging from 92 to 172sq.m, were auctioned off for a total of Dh4.62 million.

A restaurant was sold for a record amount of Dh5.10 million, while a building for public services brought in Dh1.80 million, and a cafeteria went for Dh700,000.

Dramatic increase in areas for shops
* The new wholesale market in Al Awir comprises of seven blocks having 284 outlets.
* It stands on an area of 1,116,000 square metres.
* The new market is conveniently located on Emirates Road, which links Dubai with Abu Dhabi and the Northern Emirates.
* Each shop has an area of 180 square meters.
* The market complex will have stores, post office, police station, a civil defence station, a bank and labour accommodation.

And the old market...
* Al Hamriyah market was first opened to the public in 1979, and currently employs over 1,500 workers.
* The municipality has ambitious plans for the area after the market is demolished.
* It stands on a total area of 450,000 square metres and has 189 outlets.
* Each shop occupies an area of 116 square metres.
* Also the complex lack other facilities such as stores, police station, civil defence station, bank, etc.

Export-import standards to be enforced this year
Emirates standards authority to apply national and GCC specifications, standards on all products coming in, going out

By Stanley Carvalho (Staff Reporter) GULF NEWS on Monday, June 23rd, 2003

Abu Dhabi Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA) will make it mandatory for exports and imports to meet national and GCC product specifications and standards this year, officials announced yesterday.

This is in line with maintaining high standards of products coming into the country as well as those going out and safeguarding public health and the environment, and it will also bolster the GCC customs union plans.

ESMA will shortly appoint and international company to undertake testing and certification of products in the country of origin as well as in the UAE.

"This initiative will support local industry and upgrade product quality standards through conformity certificates and specifications and will support GCC moves to create a customs union through the implementation of GCC specifications on national products thereby facilitating regional trade and entry procedures without the need of post-entry testing measures," said Walid Al Mansouri, ESMA director general.

Boost for private sector "It will encourage the private sectir to established laboratories and contribute to product testing procedures.

Moreover, the application of conformity procedures, transparency and objectivity to globally accepted standards will significantly boosts access to world markets for local produce," he added.

Thus all exports products coming into the UAE must conform to the specifications.

Also, local factories or industrial establishments here must register with ESMA and confirm to the specifications.

The move is expected to clear out sub-standard and counterfeit products form the local market.

"For local consumers, they will help reduce the import and production of sub-standard products while for manufacturers, they will encourage them to improve the quality of their products," said Al Mansouri, adding that the move will boost consumer confidence in locally manufactured goods.

Pakistan Introduce New Postal Stamps

Fruits of Pakistan Depicting "Mango" Date of Issue (June 18, 2002)

Mango is the fruit par excellence of Subcontinent. Mango (Mangifera indica) belongs to the family Anacardiaceae. It has had a prominent position among the commercial fruits of Pakistan. Mango varieties have been known for attractive colours, savouring smell, delightful taste and high nutritive value. Mango fruits contain 10-20% sugar, an important source of vitamin A and C and contain vitamin B. Small amount of protein, Iron, Calcium and Phosphorus are also present. Ripe fruits are mainly eaten fresh, but are also utilized in preparing squashes, jams and other preserves. Young and unripe fruits are used in pickles.

Pakistan is an important mango growing country in the world. The soil and climatic conditions of Pakistan are highly suitable for mango cultivation. According to FAO production year book of 2001, Pakistan stands FIFTH among mango growing countries of the World.

Mango enjoys second position after citrus in Pakistan. It is grown in the province of Punjab over an area of 48413 hectares out of 94121 hectares in the country (MINFAL 99- 2000). Most of the remaining acreage is planted in Sindh. At present, (1999-2000) the total annual production of fruits in Pakistan is 58,46,342 tons. Even if all of this production reaches to the consumers, per head per day availability of fruit is meagre 114 grams. Fresh and processed fruits and vegetables export make up less than 1 percent of Pakistan's total export. That is a matter of concern when the need for diversification of export is badly felt.

The mango from Pakistan is well known for its taste and quality abroad. More than 53,000 tons of mango is exported to neighbouring and European countries, i.e. Afghanistan, Bahrain, Dubai, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, France, Malayasia and Singapore etc. fetching foreign exchange. Langra, Dusehri, Samar Behisht, Chaunsa, Anwar Ratol are important varieties grown in Punjab. Sindhri, Bagan Pali, Suwarneka, Neelum and Gulab Khas are leading ones from Sindh.

Pakistan exported fruit worth $ 78.71 millions in 2000- 2001, despite the continuous neglect of fruit tree management. This amount of foreign exchange can be doubled with proper care and management of orchards. To improve the production, there are two ways, either by doubling the area under the fruit crops which is impossible, or by increasing the production per hectare. Per hectare production can only be increased if we know the proper management of trees. Unfortunately the mango crop has not been paid deserved attention.

 Hamriya Traders Fear 50.0% Drop in Business

Traders in the Hamriya Market - already reeling after Oman's decision last November to lift custom duty on overland imports of fruits and vegetables from Syria, Lebanon and Jordan - have received a further setback with the recent move to allow Omani traders to import fruits and vegetables from Dubai only in refrigerated vans (reefers).

Muscat's recent decision to allow traders to import fruits and vegetables from Dubai only in reefers and compulsorily accompanied by an Omani national, has led to a significant drop in business, estimated up to 50.0%, by traders at the wholesale market in Hamriya in the last two days. According to traders in Hamriya, the decision by the Omani authorities is probably the result of an effort to discourage imports of fruits and vegetables from Dubai and encourage direct imports to Muscat from India and other countries.

"Besides, the decision is also in the interest of further strengthening the operations of the recently-established 'Souq Al Muwala', a wholesale market of fruits and vegetables on the outskirts of Muscat by the Omani government," traders say. Noor Mohammed, owner of Humaid Saqr Vegetable and Fruits Trading at Hamriya Market said: "Since very few Omani traders own reefers for overland transport of fruits and vegetables, a negligible number of these vehicles arrived in Hamriya market on August 15 and 16."

He pointed out that Oman being the largest re-export market of fruits and vegetables from Dubai, the recent decision will adversely affect trade in Dubai in the long run. "Three trucks out of every four trucks waiting to be loaded at the Hamriya market are from Oman but following the implementation of the new regulation, only 5.0% of the total volume of re-export business to Muscat will be carried out from Dubai," said Mohammed.

Ahmed Mohammed of the Jordan Gulf Company which imports fruits and vegetables from Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and other Arab countries, complained that the recent decision has led to an almost 50.0% drop in their business. "We are currently surviving on selling our products to traders in the local market," he said. Although several traders have adopted a wait-and-see policy for the moment, since summer is usually an off-season period for several products, Altaf Chowdhry of Altaf and Khammas, leading fruit importers in Dubai say traders are contemplating setting up branch offices in Muscat to continue feeding the Muscat market with re-exports from Dubai.

Almost 65.0% of fresh fruits imported by his company is re-exported to Oman. "However, with the new regulation now, the situation may reverse for my company," Chowdhry pointed out. However, he hoped that the authorities in Dubai would seriously look into the issue which is already causing panic in the market, and arrive at a reasonable solution after taking up the matter with their counterparts in Oman.

A senior Dubai Municipality official, when contacted by the 'Khaleej Times' refused to comment on the issue, explaining that "no official notification has been received by the Dubai Municipality from our Omani counterparts on the recent regulations," he said. He explained no action could be taken by the authorities in Dubai, until they receive some intimation in writing about the implementation of the new regulation. The official, however, agreed that there had been a noticeable drop in the number of trucks arriving from Oman at the Hamriya Market in the last few days.

"In fact, there has been a drop in the number of Omani traders arriving at Dubai, since the establishment of a local wholesale market in Muscat a few months ago," he observed. He pointed out that fruits and vegetable traders in Dubai should formally notify the authorities about the problems they were facing in light of the new regulations apparently imposed by the Omani authorities. "We will certainly look into resolving the problems faced by the traders if they seek our assistance," he said. (The 'Khaleej Times')

Pakistani mangoes create sensation at London stores

LONDON: The heavenly smell of Pakistani mangoes filled the food halls of Harrods and Selfridges on Monday morning as part of a promotion through which the Government of Pakistan hopes to quadruple the export of mango in a year. Pakistan is presently placed third in the world on the list of mango exporting countries after Mexico and the Philippines, but its share at 8 per cent of international volume is low compared to 41 per cent of Mexico. "We are aware of this deficiency and that is why we are here to promote our royal fruit," said Tariq Ikram, Pakistani minister of state and chairman Export Promotion Bureau. Ikram said: "We are hoping to raise at least $100 million next year from our export of mangoes, $82 million more than present $18 million. We are looking into exporting other fruits too. These are the sectors which remained largely unattended or never considered lucrative enough." Ali S Hilmi, who buys fresh produce for Harrods, hoped Pakistani mango would soon succeed in tickling the taste buds of London's food connoisseurs. Similar thoughts were expressed by Jean Paul Barat, general manager of Selfridges' food operations, who said: "Pakistani mango is unique in a sense that no other mango come close to it in taste and sweetness and it is free of fibre as well". Shehzad Hasan, the commercial secretary at the Pakistan High Commission, sad that soon prime varieties of Pakistani mango, like Sindhri and Chaunsa would be available at high street supermarkets like Sainsbury and Tesco. 

Go on, pluck a mango off the internet
AKTCO news in Gulf Today on 5th September 2001

A DUBAI-BASED company has taken the lead in becoming the first fruit and vegetable importer and exporter in the Middle East to provide online services to its customers and clients worldwide through its website.

Altaf & Khammas Trading Company LLC now provides account and sales statements, and email account services to its customers and plans expansion to offer online quotations and sales, Faisal Chaudhry of the company said. 

"This is our first step towards the vision of Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Defense Minister General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum to establish Dubai as the hub for the IT and e-business," Faisal said.

The website -- www.altaf-khammas.com -- is also promoting the produce of South East Asia on the worldwide web.

Established in the 1960s, the company is one of largest importers and re-exporters of fruits and vegetables from Pakistan, India, and European countries. It is also the Middle East marketing agent for its suppliers.

In 2000, its sales totaled 30,050 tonnes of fruits, specially mango, Kinnow, grapes, pomegranate, onion and other fruits.

This year, it expects the sales to increase by 50 tonnes and has set a target for sales to increase by 3,000 tonnes.

The website is not only essential to fruit and vegetable traders but is also informative for the public as it provides interesting facts about various products.

For instance, the separate pages on Indian and Pakistani mango introduce the fruit and its varieties, period of their availability, the best way to serve them, and the nutritional aspects.

It says the Indian mango is a member of the Anachardiaceae family and its other distant relatives include the cashew, pistachio, Jamaica plum, poison ivy and poison oak.

It adds that the name mango is derived from the Tamil word mangkey or man-gey. When the Portuguese traders settled in western India they adopted the name as manga.

The page also says that the fumes from burning mango wood, leaves and debris can cause serious irritation to eyes and lungs and that every part of the mango plant is beneficial and has been utilized in folk remedies in some form or another.

Many South East Asian kings and nobles had their own mango groves with private farmers being sources of great pride and social standing.

The page on Pakistani mango says that the mangoes are mostly eaten chilled by Pakistanis as chilled mangoes not only enhance their shelf life but also remove the "heat" in the fruit.

Mangoes have more carotenoids than most other fruits and that helps ward off colds and reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease, it says.

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