Milk producer concerned over rising feed prices

Updated 05 September 2012

Milk producer concerned over rising feed prices

RIYADH: A top executive of the Riyadh-based Almarai Company, the world’s largest integrated dairy giant, has expressed concerns over the rising prices of animal feed and said that the food producers and consumers across the Middle East including Saudi Arabia are expected to feel the sting of rising commodity prices at global level.
Abdulrahman A. Al-Fadley, Almarai’s chief executive officer, said that the company has geared itself well to cope with soaring prices and to continue performing better on all fronts.
Addressing a press conference on Monday, Al-Fadley commented on the rising prices of feed stocks including corn and soy. The soaring prices are caused by the inclement weather conditions including a drought in the US, low rainfall in Russia and a weak monsoon season in India.
Al-Fadely gave an overview of the Saudi dairy sector with special reference to the growth of Almarai, it vision and its future expansion plan.
The press meeting was attended by top Almarai executives including Georges P. Schorderet, Almarai chief operating officer; Paul Louis Gay, chief financial officer, and Hussam R. Abdulqader, chief of communications and public relations department at Almarai.
Al-Fadley gave a comprehensive presentation before answering questions ranging from food security, employment of Saudi nationals to new products and Almarai’s acquisitions outside the Kingdom.
Referring to the expansion plan of Almarai, Al-Fadley said that “Almarai was going ahead with its new plans and projects.”
In 2009, Almarai embarked on a new development phase with initiatives for geographic expansion through the establishment of a joint venture with PepsiCo to form International Dairy and Juice (IDJ) firm. In the same year, Almarai acquired HADCO as part of investing in a new product category through the acquisition, modernization, and building of new facilities to form Alyoum for poultry products.
In 2010, Almarai entered into a joint venture with Mead Johnson Nutrition, one of the world’s leading infant nutrition companies, to form the International Pediatric Nutrition Co. (IPNC) to produce, market, and distribute infant nutrition products in the MENA region under the brand name Infa. Production is expected to commence later this year. On the other hand, the company is devoting considerable resources to train and absorb young Saudis into its workforce, he said.
“Currently, Almarai has over 4,700 Saudi employees on its payroll,” said the CEO, adding that staff development, through on-the-job training and education, equips the employee with the technical skills required to enable them to perform their jobs effectively and efficiently in the dairy sector.
To this end, he noted that Almarai has established the Almarai Food Processing Academy in conjunction with an international reputable organization. Almarai is also involved in the University Students Co-operation Training program, he added.
Asked about the products and their quality, he said that Almarai provides nutritious and healthy products to consumers of all ages including dairy products, cheese, juices, bakery products, poultry and infant formula under the brand names Almarai, L’Usine, 7Days, Alyoum and Infa.
Al-Fadley pointed out that Almarai Company is certified (ISO 9001-9002) across all operational divisions, including farms, procurement, processing, quality product development, distribution, and supply chain.
Referring to a large number of awards and commendations won by Almarai, Al-Fadley said that Almarai was recognized as the “Leading Quoted Company for Investor Relations” by the Middle East Investor Relations Society. In 2011, Almarai Vetal won the “Drop Award for Dairy” from the Arab Bureau for Food Industries and Arab Beverages Association.
He pointed out that Almarai serves more than 48,500 retail customers per day. “Our dairy herd consists of more than 135,000 Holstein cows,” he noted. The cows produce an average of over 13,000 liters of milk every year; almost double the European average, he observed.
Almarai, he said, produced an annual average of more than 900 million liters of milk.
He pointed out that Almarai’s facilities that include farms and plants among others cover a total area of over 700 million square meters.
“Furthermore, Almarai is committed to adopting and implementing state-of-the-art production processes, plant design, and operating systems to reduce and conserve water consumption,” he said.
The company, he said, has been involved in a number of community initiatives as part of its corporate social responsibility.
Almarai launched the Award for Scientific Creativity with the King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology (KACST) to encourage scientific research, he noted.
The company also launched an additional scientific award —The Almarai Veterinarian Award — to support the veterinary profession, in addition to collaborating with the GCC’s Arab Bureau for Education to organize a Scholarship Excellence Award for students to encourage the pursuit for academic excellence.

Saudi films soar at Golden Falcon film awards

Updated 19 April 2018

Saudi films soar at Golden Falcon film awards

  • Winners of first Golden Falcon award will travel to the Netherlands to study filmmaking techniques
  • Film screenings have been revived in KSA as part of wide-ranging social and economic reforms encouraged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman 

RIYADH: Saudi films have won awards at an international film festival organized by the Netherlands to coincide with the return of cinema to the Kingdom.

The first Golden Falcon Film Festival awards drew Saudi actors, filmmakers and cinema-lovers to the Netherlands embassy in Riyadh on Wednesday.

More than 30 shortlisted Saudi films were shown at the maiden festival on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Nine films were nominated, with three each in the best film, best script and best director categories. Overall winners were chosen by an international jury headed by Dutch filmmaker Hans Treffers.

Best movie award went to “Mazban.” The other two films nominated in the category were “Tongue” and “Building 20.”

“The Poetess,” “Matour” and “Atoor” were nominated in the best director category with “Atoor” bagging the award.

“Departures,” “Atoor” and “The Remaining” were nominated in the best script category with “Departures” winning the award.

Besides the Golden Falcon trophy, the winners will travel to the Netherlands to study filmmaking techniques.

Joost Reintjes, the Netherlands ambassador in Riyadh, told Arab News: “We are proud to organize the first Golden Falcon Film Festival here to promote filmmaking in the Kingdom and provide a platform for young Saudi filmmakers to show what they have to offer.”

Film screenings — banned in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s following religious changes in the Kingdom — have been revived as part of wide-ranging social and economic reforms encouraged by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

The return of cinema was heralded with a film screening on Wednesday at a newly built theater at the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) in Riyadh. 

Commenting on the lifting of the 35-year ban, Reintjes told Arab News: “That’s Vision 2030 — it is good sign to diversify and develop.

“Although the cinemas in the Kingdom have only been restarted now, Saudi filmmaking has already made a name for itself on the world stage.

“The Saudi film industry will grow very fast. The level of talent is high,” he said.

Mohammed Al-Qass, lead actor from “Departure,” said: “We have been working for this day for years. 

“Saudis with a thirst for cinema were traveling outside the country — now they can enjoy and share the experience in their homeland.” 

Mohammed Khawajah, a Saudi filmmaker and adviser for the film festival, told Arab News: “The idea for this festival came last year when the lifting of the cinema ban was being discussed.

“The Netherlands embassy had this idea about nine months ago; we sat together and planned the whole festival, which was carried out successfully, with hundreds of people enjoying Saudi films.

“We will improve with our next festival, which will have more fun and entertainment,” he said.