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


China’s economy accelerates as virus recovery gains strength

Updated 20 October 2020

China’s economy accelerates as virus recovery gains strength

  • China is the only major economy that is expected to grow this year while activity in the US, Europe and Japan shrinks

BEIJING: China’s shaky economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is gaining strength as consumers return to shopping malls and auto dealerships while the United States and Europe endure painful contractions.

Growth in the world’s second-largest economy accelerated to 4.9 percent over a year earlier in the three months ending in September, up from the previous quarter’s 3.2 percent, official data showed Monday. Retail spending rebounded to above pre-virus levels for the first time and factory output rose, boosted by demand for exports of masks and other medical supplies.

China is the only major economy that is expected to grow this year while activity in the US, Europe and Japan shrinks.

The recovery is “broadening out and becoming less reliant” on government stimulus, Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics said in a report. He said growth is “still accelerating” heading into the present quarter.

Most Asian stock markets rose on the news of increased activity in China, the biggest trading partner for all of its neighbors. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index added 1.1 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 0.9 percent. Markets in South Korea and Australia also rose. China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.7 percent on expectations the relatively strong data will reduce the likelihood of additional stimulus that might boost share prices.

China, where the pandemic began in December, became the first major economy to return to growth after the ruling Communist Party declared the disease under control in March and began reopening factories, shops and offices. The economy contracted by 6.8 percent in the first quarter, its worst performance since at least the mid-1960s, before rebounding.

The economy “continued the steady recovery,” the National Bureau of Statistics said in a report. However, it warned, “the international environment is still complicated and severe.” It said China faces great pressure to prevent a resurgence of the virus.

Authorities have lifted curbs on travel and business but visitors to government and other public buildings still are checked for the virus’s telltale fever. Travelers arriving from abroad must be quarantined for two weeks.

Industrial production rose 5.8 percent over the same quarter last year, a marked improvement over the first half’s 1.3 percent contraction. Chinese exporters are taking market share from foreign competitors that still are hampered by anti-virus controls.

Retail sales rose 0.9 percent over a year earlier. That was up from a 7.2 percent contraction in the first half as consumers, already anxious about a slowing economy and a tariff war with Washington, put off buying. Online commerce rose 15.3 percent.

In a sign demand is accelerating, sales in September rose 3.3 percent.