As the UAE gears up to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, acknowledging the nation’s achievements is imperative. Various industries and trades have registered great growth over the decades, but it is the locally grown food supplies and farming where the country has emerged as a regional leader.
The UAE has developed a thriving agricultural industry despite the harsh desert environment and is providing a wide range of farm-fresh produce to consumers, particularly the hospitality sector. So, what impact does sourcing food products from local sources has on the restaurants and hotel businesses?
We talked to restaurateur Sanjeev Nanda in search for the answer to this question. Nanda, who is a prominent restaurant owner in Dubai, believes that the innovations going in the UAE’s agro-tech sectors are responsible for boosting not just the hospitality businesses, but also the nation’s economy as well.
“Over the years, Dubai has grown into a regional farming hub. The credit lies with the technological innovations like climate-controlled vertical farms and a blockchain-enabled food storage system. As a restaurant owner, I believe it has helped great many businesses to prosper, in turn giving the national economy a boost,” says Sanjeev Nanda.
He adds, “While growing and buying local are concepts which have been introduced in the recent years, the benefits they have are undeniable, especially in the case of hospitality businesses. The cost savings are phenomenal as compared to what could have been in case of importing fresh produce.”
However, the importance of local food sourcing isn’t limited to restaurants and hotels. According to Sanjeev Nanda, it also has a greater impact in form of sustainability. The Dubai-based restaurateur quips that the reduction in carbon footprint and the environmental conservation that comes with buying local produce cannot be overstated.
Sanjeev Nanda adds, “As hospitality business owners, it becomes our ethical responsibility to promote local food sourcing as much as possible. As the hospitality sector grows in the UAE, it becomes important for businesses to make larger orders of local produce. This will help local farms become more commercially viable.”
Sanjeev Nanda continues, “When the local produce is priced more effectively, it will help support smaller operators in the market, who find themselves unable to get involved when the price point is higher. The result will be a knock-on economic effect, which in turn would be a befitting contribution to the country’s ‘The Year of the 50th’ celebrations.”