Prince Mishaal bin Abdullah bin Turki and global private investor V. Raman Kumar have formed a new Saudi-India joint venture to build a rice distribution hub in Dubai to link Indian production to consumers in the Middle East.
The investors are engaged in a joint venture (JV) with India’s innovative rice producer, LEAF India (Lakshmi Energy and Foods Ltd.), to create the MENA region’s largest hub for rice storage and distribution.
The JV, Innovo Specialty Foods JLT, created by an investment of AED100 million, aims to set up a storage, processing, polishing and packaging facility with a capacity of over 100,000 tons of basmati rice during 2014.
Innovo will market and distribute basmati rice processed and packed by Pan Gulf Food and Industries exclusively across the Middle East and North Africa.
“Our concept idea of creating this rice hub will aim to contribute to and deliver food security objectives in the UAE,” said Kumar.
“Food security is clearly an immediate priority for the UAE and wider Middle East. The region is entering a new period of economic growth underpinned by a burgeoning population with a high dependence on imported food,” he added.
“Currently, 20 percent of all UAE imports comprise food items and 90 percent of food is imported but there are only 3 months of basic food items stored, so food security cover is not fit for the rapidly growing economy,” he said.
“The 100,000 tons of basmati rice capacity that we will create in Jebel Ali will be a giant step for this region to strengthen its food security strategy. We look to take this strategy to Saudi Arabia as well in the near future. We believe that execution of a core food security strategy is essential to provide a sustainable growth platform.”
The ever increasing demand for basmati rice has been primarily driven by Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Iraq and GCC countries, accounting for over 4 million tons of basmati rice consumption every year.