By Dr Ahmed El Tigani
In his look-ahead to 2018, Dr Ahmed El Tigani said the biggest challenges for the industry will be from competitors in northern Europe
The good news is that there hasn’t been a drop off in demand in the dairy industry, because everybody is consuming the products we sell. The vitamins sourced from milk, Laban and our various products are vital.
The UAE market remains vibrant, with consumers young and old benefiting from naturally produced goods.
We see that the population is growing in the UAE, with more and people coming to the UAE, especially Dubai, because life here is easy and safe, and people don’t pay taxes. So it’s attractive for people to come here and that more will consume dairy products, especially families.
The opportunities are always there in the dairy industry for the companies who are maintaining high quality on good products, and for those companies who are looking to launch new products and new innovations, which is important in this market. We have, for example, introduced ‘Super Milk’, which five includes added vitamins and nutrients (A, D, E, calcium and folic acid).
As a producer of milk, however, I hope that the government will understand and give some kind of help with subsidies. During the past ten years we haven’t increased the price, and we’re not planning to increase the price this year either. But hopefully we can get some kind of help or support from the government.
We also sell in Oman, which is a good market for us and is developing all the time. Omani people consume a lot of dairy products, especially Laban – in fact they consume more Laban than milk.
Looking ahead to next year, we see a number of challenges for the industry, the biggest of which is competition. It’s getting harder and harder and the competitors are coming from all over the world, especially from Northern European countries where their cost structure is much better than ours.
With excellent infrastructure in Dubai, they’re able to come here and compete in our market. It’s something that have to deal with that because everybody is welcome to come and sell their products here in the United Arab Emirates, but it’s a challenge for the sector for local manufacturers.
VAT, of course, will be another challenge, but I don’t believe it will unduly affect the industry because it affects all sectors and businesses and we have to live with it.
We understand, most importantly, that we have enjoyed so many years without paying any kind of tax. It’s high time now for people to help in developing social services, hospitals, road construction and all of these expenses that the government has previously given to us for many years for free.