The number of flowers and plants handled by the Dubai Flower Centre (DFC) more than doubled between 2006 and 2007 as the free zone sought to establish itself as a major international hub
DFC was founded in November 2005 as a duty free zone in Dubai Cargo Village and tasked with consolidating Dubai’s position as an international live plant import and re-export centre, said Ali Al Jallaf, Vice-President, Cargo Unit, Dubai Airports.
Handling in DFC grew from 1.049 million tonnes in 2006 to 2.148 million tonnes in 2007.
And in the first quarter of 2008, imports were already up to 491.396 tonnes compared to 477.275 tonnes during the same period last year.
The zone does business with both producer countries in Africa and Europe and importer countries in the Gulf, Middle East, Asia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. According to government statistics, local consumption currently accounts for 80 per cent of DFC’s total handling.
However, Al Jallaf said: “We aim to make 90 per cent of the total works dedicated for external markets and 10 per cent for local market.”
In order to increase the volume of imports and re-exports the centre is actively marketing itself.
A flower fair has been organised annually to attract international and local companies to DFC.
The fourth edition of the show – which will take place in March 2009 – will see two parallel events, one for flowers and plants and the other for fruit and vegetables.
Flower sales generate billions of dollars globally each year and Al Jallaf estimated the market is growing by seven to nine per cent annually. The UAE has a strong demand for fresh flowers, he added, noting the hospitality sector is the major buyer.
“Though there are a number of limited local farms, we aspire to become part of the international market for this industry and to benefit from the emirate’s infrastructure and geographical location,” he said. “Nothing can keep us from reaching our goal as the emirate has great potential. I expect we will reach our goal within 15 years.
“This, of course, requires many executive measures, such as the establishment of local and international markets, expansion in local farming of flowers, increased local and international investors and the creation of specialised public joint stock companies from the government and private sectors.”
DFC sows the seeds for global growth