Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the creation of a new position for an Agricultural Counsellor to be based in Dubai.
The announcement has been made as part of the Minister’s current visit to Saudi Arabia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“This new position is the latest step by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to increase its presence in the Middle East. It recognises the growing importance of the New Zealand relationship with the region and will provide further support for New Zealand exporters,” says Mr Guy.
“Based in Dubai, the position will cover key markets in the Middle East and seek to advance our trade and economic relationships. The position will also contribute to New Zealand’s strategy to develop strong government and private sector relationships with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
“In 2013, New Zealand exported around $1 billion in dairy products to the GCC region and just under $200 million worth of meat products. There is also growing demand for high value food and beverages in this market.
“The position will play an important role in our engagement with the relevant halal authorities in the GCC to reinforce New Zealand’s reputation as a high quality food exporter, responsive to the halal requirements of Islamic markets and Muslim consumers.
“New Zealand is well placed as a leader in agritechnology to provide a full range of agribusiness expertise, products and services throughout the region. Having an MPI representative located in the region will increase New Zealand’s capacity to take up such opportunities.
“Food security is a vital issue for this region with a scarcity of water and pastoral land. Gulf countries import up to 90 percent of their food, which gives New Zealand the opportunity to become a partner of choice for both food exports and agritechnology,” says Guy.
The Minister has already met with his ministerial counterparts and high-level officials in Saudi Arabia and Oman, opened a Fonterra warehousing and distribution hub in the UAE and engaged with the New Zealand business community based in the region.