All eyes on Africa and Middle East as demand swells
Growing economic and political stability, infrastructure development, urban expansion, high birth rates and rising employment have set the stage for greater access to a wider range of foods and beverages across the Middle East and Africa.
According to a report issued by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Africa is poised for a particularly considerable increase in fish and seafood consumption.The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2018 projects growth of 37% within the next 12 years. The prediction came as a pleasant surprise for many industry insiders since Africa’s current per capita consumption is among the world’s lowest at 9.9 kilograms.
In the Middle East, countries such as the UAE consume an average of 33 kilograms of seafood per capita each year, which amounts to nearly double the global average, according to the FAO report.
Across the Gulf, demand for fresh fish products from local, regional and global fish suppliers, producers and aquaculture centers has been on the rise for years and is expected to grow by 8% annually through 2030.
While birth rates have declined across much of South Asia the region’s existing population is quite robust. This, coupled with disposable income growth and other encouraging economic developments, suggests South Asia has a lot of potential too.
A path to emerging markets
A growing number of seafood producers, retailers and other members of the supply chain are anxious to capitalize on opportunities in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. To that end, many plan to attend the SEAFEX Middle East 2018 trade show in Dubai next month.
Participants include the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC), which has invited domestic exporters to attend the conference as well under a broader bid to expand the footprint of Norwegian seafood in and around the Middle East.
In a statement published last month Ingelill Jacobsen, an Emerging Markets Manager at NSC, described the region as an important area of focus for her organization and the Norwegian seafood industry at large.
“Through a common position, the NSC wishes to create a good arena for networking, where Norwegian exporters can meet potential customers from the region,” she added in reference to SEAFEX and other conferences that serve as platforms for market penetration.
While events like SEAFEX often shed new light on regional trends and consumer preferences, broader themes that are shaping the entire seafood industry are a central focus as well.
This article was produced by the content marketing team at NHST Global Publications, an affiliate of IntraFish Media