Minister for Environment and Food to head a Danish business delegation in the United Arab Emirates

Publiceret 19-02-2018

Aiming at being a sustainable role model for the rest of the world, and with its growing need to import food, the United Arab Emirates is an obvious market for Danish businesses. Next week, a large Danish trade delegation, together with the Minister for Environment and Food, will embark on an export drive in the UAE.

The population is growing and tourists flock to Dubai and the rest of the UAE. However, the growing number of people living in the desert country also entails various challenges.

The UAE is one of the most water scarce countries in the world and has almost no groundwater. Moreover, the need for food is currently growing by 12% annually.

The UAE is therefore reliant on increased food imports and is in the process of investing massively in water technology, better waste management and renewable energy.

"The UAE has an objective to be a role model for the rest of the world with regard to sustainability and low energy consumption.  We can supply most of the technology and know-how they need to improve their water management and waste management. Moreover, the Emirates has a growing need to import food products for an increasing population. This is also an opportunity that Danish enterprises must capitalise on. We can supply everything from organic chocolate to dairy products on a large scale," said Danish Minister for Environment and Food Esben Lunde Larsen.

During the upcoming week, Esben Lunde Larsen will be in the UAE on an export drive with the Confederation of Danish Industry, the Danish Agriculture and Food Council, State of Green, Organic Denmark and 40 Danish companies. At the same time, 18 Danish companies will exhibit at the two Danish pavilions at Gulfood, which takes place in Worlds Trade Center in Dubai.  

Danish exports to the UAE were DKK 3.2 bn. in 2016. In addition, Danish exports grew with 17.5% in 2017, thereby breaking a new record of DKK 3.7 bn. According to the Confederation of Danish Industry, the growth rate in the UAE will be around three percent annually over the next five years. 

"Many of these companies already have a strong foothold in the UAE. Now it is time to consolidate this foothold, in order for the Danish companies to take part in the increasing demand for eco-technology and food products. I look forward to heading this large delegation and to, hopefully, contributing to landing many more orders for Danish businesses from the UAE," said Esben Lunde Larsen.

Excerpts from the Minister for Environment and Food's schedule:

  • Meeting with Minister of State for Food Security, H.E Mariam Saeed Hareb Al Muhairi.
  • Meeting with Minister of Climate Change and Environment, H.E Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi.
  • Visit to the Danish stand at the 2018 Gulfood food trade show.
  • Opening of Arla's 'Food Camp' at the Dubai British School together with Minister of State for Public Education, H.E Jameela Salem Al Muhairi.
  • Visit to the Danish Green Hub in Dubai. 




  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the top-ten water-scarce countries in the world.
  • Agriculture is responsible for two-thirds of the country's annual water consumption.
  • The average water consumption for inhabitants in the UAE is 550 litres per day. The global average is 250 litres per day.
  • Around 95% of the water supply comes from desalination of seawater.
  • In 2016, the UAE spent DKK 19.6 bn. on desalination.
  • Abu Dhabi and Dubai invested close to DKK 5 bn. in waste treatment systems in 2017.
  • In 2016, Denmark exported organic products to the UAE worth DKK 612 mill. Dairy products accounted for 40%.
  • The demand for food is currently increasing by 12% annually.
  • In 2025, the country is likely to have a demand for 59.2 mill. tonnes of food.
  • Of which, 85% will have to be imported. 
  • From 2014 up to 2019, imports of food and beverage products are expected to increase by a total of 35.9%.
  • In 2020, food imports will have exceeded DKK 50 bn.


Further information:

Jonatan Lykke-Olesen, Press Officer, the Danish Ministry of the Environment and Food Phone: +45 9359 7082, e-mail: Obfuscated Email

Sarah Bo Hansen, Head of Communication, the Royal Embassy of Denmark, Phone: +971 50 211 9580, e-mail: Obfuscated Email