GPCA: Fertilizer event attracts top officials

22 November 2012 16:27 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

The 3rd Annual GPCA Fertilizer Convention, which began on 17 September with a pre-event workshop and ran until 19 September, attracted more than 200 delegates from across the Gulf and key export markets, including Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America.

Rashid Ahmed Bin Fahad

"Further investment in the UAE's agriculture sector will support the country's commitment to sustainable development"

HE Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad
Minister of Environment and Water, UAE

GPCA welcomed HE Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, the United Arab Emirates' (UAE) minister of environment and water, as the guest of honor and keynote speaker. The minister opened the conference with a look at the UAE's progress towards environmental sustainability. A long-time proponent of sustainability, the minister has recently formed a National Committee on Environmental Coordination to promote environmental policies in the UAE.

Bin Fahad's insights into the UAE's moves towards sustainability complemented the theme of this year's convention, "Transforming Sustainable Development into Value Creation in the Fertilizer Industry".

Delivering the keynote speech the minister said the industry's expansion was aligned with the national strategy for a "green" economy launched earlier this year by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai. "Further investment in the UAE's agriculture sector will support the country's commitment to sustainable development," said Bin Fahad.

"The UAE has supported the fertilizer industry since the first factory opened in the country in 1977," added Bin Fahad. "Ongoing development will not only see the expansion of capacity but also further advances in health and safety and environmental performance."

The convention showcased how sustainable development can lead to value creation in the fertilizer industry with a special focus on the market demands in the Arabian Gulf, Africa, Iraq, China, Brazil, India and Iran. Gulf fertilizer manufacturers are winning a growing share of the global market as new facilities come on stream. The GPCA estimates that output will reach 32m tonnes/year by 2016, compared with 21m tonnes in 2011. Within five years, the region is set to corner 36% of global urea exports and a quarter of the world trade in phosphate fertilizers.

"The GCC states have successfully converted their gas and sulfur feedstock advantage into a high-value downstream industry responsible for a significant proportion of the region's non-oil exports and providing much needed local jobs," said Dr Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, general secretary of the GPCA.

"With the industry growing at around 7.5%/year, Gulf producers can establish the region as a global hub for fertilizers and play an increased role in meeting world food demand, expected to increase 70% by 2050. Delegates at this year's event examined strategies to reach this next level of development and negotiate challenges including pressure on gas demand, supply chain constraints and price uncertainty in the wake of economic downturn.

"The convention is the ideal platform to share expertise, experience and new ideas, to realize our shared goals of enhanced food security and sustainable development," added Al-Sadoun.

Topics included improving energy consumption and further reducing environmental impact, as well as strategies to increase value creation through fertilizers in Gulf and overseas markets.

By John Baker