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Industry sees market potential in Middle East

Business

By SHIRLEY MAULUDU
THE Middle East is a “big enough and easy enough” market to enter into in terms of tuna investment, an official says.
Arnab Sengupta, the trading director of the Gulf Food Industries in the United Arab Emirates, told the Pacific Tuna Forum yesterday that the Middle East was a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia and Egypt in North Africa.
The region is made up of 17 countries.
“The Middle East is a big enough and easy enough to enter to make it a market of focus, for a new origin for canned tuna,” Sengupta said.
“All variants or quality finds a market here.
“Price competitiveness is paramount in large part of the market.
“Regional semi-government groups could market freshness of regional tuna, sustainability at the grass-root consumer level while demonstrating the quality and texture of the product.
“Focus is high value and profitable pet food and frozen fish market and also on a niche or single market to create success.”
Sengupta said the canned tuna market of the Middle East was worth around US$1 billion (K3.14 billion).
“It’s just shy of the United States canned tuna market US$1.4 billion (K4.4 billion),” he said.
“It’s one of the only growing market of canned tuna apart from Latin America. The major issue for us is that it’s an open market for all.
“But what we really look for is efficiency. We are very price-conscious.
“We do not have a big local tuna catch.”
The forum is a biannual event to see how the Pacific region could maximise on the potential of the tuna resource in a sustainable manner as about 50 per cent of the world’s tuna is from the Pacific region.

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