UAE agri-business firm Pure Harvest gets $100 million commitment from Kuwait’s Wafra

Pure Harvest managed to raise $20.6 million in its Series A financing round. (Supplied)
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Updated 06 April 2020

UAE agri-business firm Pure Harvest gets $100 million commitment from Kuwait’s Wafra

  • COVID-19 crisis puts emphasis on need for fresh healthy, locally-grown food
  • Pure Harvest has raised $20.6 million in its Series A financing round, with the Kuwaiti asset management firm

DUBAI: Abu Dhabi-based agri-business venture Pure Harvest Smart Farms on Monday said it has secured a $100 million multi-year funding commitment from Kuwait’s Wafra International Investment Company, the biggest agriculture technology investment in the region.

Pure Harvest managed to raise $20.6 million in its Series A financing round, with the Kuwaiti asset management firm – which has $6 billion assets in its portfolio – the biggest financial backer with a $10 million capital injection.

Pure Harvest Smart Farms supplies tomatoes grown in an enclosed, environment-controlled farm to supermarkets – including Carrefour, Spinney’s and Waitrose – hotels and restaurants in the UAE. Proceeds from its initial fund-raising activity would be used to finance planned expansion activities in the Gulf region.

“The recent COVID-19 crisis and resulting supply chain disruptions further highlight the need for sustainable local-for-local food production capacity, especially for fresh, nutrient-rich foods,” Sky Kurtz, the founder and chief executive of Pure Harvest Smart Farms, said in a statement.

“Together with structured debt financing that we are simultaneously arranging, we will invest Wafra’s funds in growth, key hires, enhancing our technology portfolio, and ultimately to deliver our solution across the region – including in Wafra’s home market of Kuwait.”

Ghazi Al-Hajeri, chief executive of Wafra International Investment Company, meanwhile said: “The Arabian Gulf food system is undergoing a monumental shift toward a technology-enabled farming model in order to meet consumer demands for affordable, high quality foods.”

When you combine the local abundance of sunlight with energy and water-efficient climate management systems, the region makes a compelling case as one of the best places in the world for horticulture – a ‘contrarian’ thesis we believe in and that led us to invest in Pure Harvest. “

Pure Harvest recently signed a deal with the Alliances for Global Sustainability, which was founded by Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al-Nahyan, to secure over 30 hectares of land in Al-Ain to expand its modernized farming facilities.

Now read: The American putting the flavor back in the tomato in the UAE and sharing it with Saudi Arabia


UAE dives into Lake Manzala project

Updated 21 September 2020

UAE dives into Lake Manzala project

  • Egyptian campaign aims to return the lake to its previous state and revive local fishing industry

CAIRO: The UAE National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC) has announced that it won the rights to the expansion project of Lake Manzala in Egypt, valued at 600 million UAE dirhams ($163 million).

The company’s announcement of the new project came following a disclosure published on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange website. It ensures compliance with the principle of disclosure and transparency in force in the UAE.

Lake Manzala is one of Egypt’s largest natural lakes. It is known for its potential fishing opportunities, as it has the basis for high fish stocks due to natural nutrients and a moderate climate throughout the year. It produces about half of the natural fish production in lakes.

The lake has witnessed neglect in recent years, losing much of its importance and wealth. In May 2017 Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi launched a national project to develop Egyptian lakes, with a key focus on Lake Manzala.

NMDC said in a statement that winning the project came through its partnership with the Egyptian-Emirati Challenge Company. It said that it will take about two years to implement the project.

NMDC is one of the leading companies in the field of dredging, land reclamation and civil and marine construction in the Middle East. The Lake Manzala development project aims to improve the quality of water to restore free fishing and return the lake to its previous state, which will boost the local market and export output.

President El-Sisi said that Lake Manzala will contribute to enhancing Egypt’s fishing industry, and export operations will be activated after its full development. He directed the border governorates, in coordination with the Ministry of Interior and the Armed Forces, to remove all encroachments and criminal outposts on the lake.

Several days ago, Dakahlia governorate completed a difficult operation to remove encroachments on the lake. A large campaign that used Armed Forces Engineering Authority equipment removed 301 houses in the Abdo El-Salhy area in El-Matareya city, known as the “fishermen’s land,” which was built on areas that were filled in from the lake. The operation occurred after local fishermen were persuaded to obtain compensation for vacating their houses.

Magdy Zaher, executive director of Manzala Lake, said that the engineering authority used 320 excavators and 20 imported suction dredgers to work in the lake.

The authority dredged the upper islands isolated from the water with the help of an Emirati bulldozing company to increase the efficiency and purification of Lake Manzala.

Zaher said the lake project will require several steps.

The most important is the removal of encroachments on the water surface and doubling its area to 250,000 feddans, he said. Dredging and deepening the lake, opening the gates and extending the radial channels to allow Mediterranean waters to enter the lake will follow, he added.

A safety belt will come in the form of a road 80 km long and 30 meters wide, which will surround the lake and prevent future encroachments. It will also divert the course of the Bahr El-Baqar water treatment plant, which pours 12 million cubic meters of sanitary, industrial and agricultural drainage into the lake, Zaher said.