A fair is underway in Dubai, in which Serbian businessmen also took part.
Source: B92 / Ana Ristović
Foto: Ashraf Jandali/Shutterstock
Namely, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (SCC) and the Serbian Development Agency (RAS) organized the appearance of 11 companies from Serbia at the GULFOOD fair in Dubai, one of the largest and most important specialized exhibitions of the food industry in the United Arab Emirates and the Gulf region. until February 25.
We asked Marko Selaković, the head of the PKS Office in Dubai, what Serbian agriculture can offer to the Arab world.
“There are many products that the Serbian agricultural sector can offer. There are frequent inquiries for fresh fruits and vegetables, for the frozen program, primarily raspberries, blueberries, berries. There is more and more interest in biscuits and fruit juices from Serbia. The potential is huge, and we are just waiting for the World Expo from October to the end of March in Dubai, where the UAE puts great emphasis on agriculture: one of the thematic weeks of the World Expo will be dedicated to food, agriculture and food. “If the business community of Serbia shows itself in the right light, and if we manage to bring the Serbian agricultural sector and food products closer to millions of visitors, we will strengthen our additional presence in this important market, but also around the world,” Selakovic told B92.net.
Why is it worth exporting from Serbia to the UAE?
According to our interlocutor, the United Arab Emirates is a stable and solvent market and it is undoubtedly good that agricultural products from Serbia are present on this market.
“Still, the UAE is much more than a solvent market: Dubai is a key hub for supplying the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia. Serbia should look for its chance by looking at the UAE as a hub for access to literally billions of consumers: India, Sub-Saharan Africa, but also neighboring countries, such as Saudi Arabia, have huge potential, and Serbia is recognized in these markets as a country of quality food. It seems to me that this is the key to long-term success and I am glad to see apples moving towards India. the more we are present in Africa with various products: this trend should continue and expand, “he notes.
As he adds, export procedures to the UAE are relatively simple, the product quality standards that are prescribed must be met. The situation with the export of products of animal origin is somewhat more specific – special attention must be paid to HALAL certification.
“I hope that this issue will be fully resolved in the near future; colleagues from the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Agriculture are already working on it. The establishment of companies and distribution centers in the UAE has been simplified: thanks to agreements signed by the SCC President with the Free Zones Council. “Dubai and the Port of Abu Dhabi, we have accelerated procedures and support in opening companies. Regardless of the pandemic, many of our companies have recognized this opportunity: dozens of Serbian companies have opened in the UAE in 2020,” said the PKS representative.
We were similarly told by the company Master Fruits from Belgrade, which deals with the purchase, freezing, processing and export of frozen fruit, and this is the fourth time that they have presented themselves at the mentioned GULFOOD fair in Dubai.
“Export procedures are common, with certain specifics, which are not impossible to achieve. For some products, a HALAL certificate is required, while for some it is not necessary. trade, for example, is not the case within Europe “, says the operating director of Master Fruits, Boško Bondžulić, for our portal.
He states that the cooperation with customers from this part of the world is very successful – as everywhere, mutual trust, accuracy, safety and high quality products are valued.
“Master Fruits doo already exports its products to the markets of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Dubai and Bahrain. All contacts are the result of appearances at international fairs, where initial contacts were made. Later efforts of our employees led to the realization of exports. Customers are extremely interested. for healthy food from Serbia, our offer includes frozen fruits from Serbia (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, plums, apricots and fruit mixes) as well as fruit purees “, emphasizes Bondžulić.
Which agricultural products are most promising?
Our interlocutor from PKS estimates that it is best to export final products – large profits in the UAE are made by retail chains that often burden the final price of products with high margins.
“That is why it is significantly good to measure what you are going to the market with and to be competitive in the domain of product properties, price, design, packaging, and even marketing. I know that it is not easy for Serbian companies to play a global match against the world’s biggest players.” in this market, but together we manage to be more and more present: today, a year and a half after the establishment of the SCC Office in the UAE, you can find some of the food products from Serbia in almost all supermarkets in the Emirates. , but I want us to be even more present “, says Selaković.
Master Fruits points out that PKS does a fantastic job helping businessmen to present themselves better in different markets, through the organization of appearances at fairs, and everything else is the result of the work of employees in companies – how much they will be able to interest potential customers and bring them closer to products. which Serbia offers.
“Frozen berries are especially interesting to customers because of their antioxidant potentials, the content of naturally occurring vitamin C and anthocyanins, which successfully neutralize free radicals and help maintain strong immunity and good human health, which we all need in these times,” says the operations director. those companies.
When asked how he assesses the current exchange between Serbia and the UAE, the head of the PKS Office in Dubai emphasizes that this is a game that never ends, and that there is always room for progress.
“I am extremely satisfied with how products from Serbia are accepted in this market. We still have to work on branding, distribution, realistic pricing policy, predictability of quantities, to increase the volume of exchange: if we manage to overcome these challenges, we will be even more successful,” concludes Marko Selakovic. .
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