DUBAI –  Dubai, a rapidly growing commodities market in the world, is seeking to have its foot in the lucrative cacao trade and has announced plans towards becoming an international trade hub.

According to a statement from the  Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), a state-of-the-art Cacao Centre in Dubai will launch in the Arab Emirate before the end of the year.

DMCC says it will initially incubate a select range of cacao services within its DMCC Coffee Centre in Jebel Ali starting from mid-2021.

According to the authority, the plan here is to transform the emirate into an international trade hub for the in-demand superfood as part of its mid to long-term development strategy.

“The DMCC Cacao Centre represents the next phase of our growth strategy and will see us transform Dubai into a global hub for the cacao trade,” said Ahmed bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DMCC.

DMCC was established in 2002 by the Government of Dubai to provide the physical, market and financial infrastructure required to establish a hub for global commodities trade.

The hub has grown exponentially since its establishment close to a decade ago and today boast of being a major trade route for Coffee and Tea.

In 2013, the total volume of tea traded through Dubai increased to 129 thousand tonnes (US$ 463 million), representing a jump of 34% on trade in 2012.

The company also boasts of a state-of-the-art DMCC Coffee Centre offers world-class infrastructure and services for green bean storage, processing, roasting, packing and delivery of coffee to precise specifications.

“Few thought the DMCC Tea Centre and DMCC Coffee Centre would reach the levels of trade we see today, so by utilising our expertise and experience gained from developing these commodities, we see cacao and its high-growth potential as a logical next step,” added Sulayem.

Plans for a DMCC Cacao Center comes at a time when global demand for the superfood cacao – shell, fruit and beans – is rising.

The fruit is considered one of nature’s highest sources of magnesium and iron, as well as antioxidants and natural cacao butter.

Cacao is also linked to holistic wellness and is used for physical, mental and emotional balance.

All these attributes make it one of the most highly sought after food by health conscious consumers whose numbers have risen due to health uncertainties caused by the pandemic.

“Whilst connecting producers with consumers will be an important part of our model, we will ensure DMCC Cacao Centre follows our high-level approach toward sustainability, which prioritises driving value across the entire supply chain,” he added.

DMCC says it is in contact with a range of cacao industry players, including Blue Stripes Urban Cacao and stakeholders across West Africa and South America, in order to better understand the needs of the market and how Dubai can play a central role in supporting its sustainable growth.

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