RIYADH: Pure Harvest Smart Farms has secured a $64.5 million investment from Korean private equity company IMM, it was announced on Thursday at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh.
Now one of the highest-funded agribusinesses in the UAE, Pure Harvest aims to use the investment to expand its farms and the advanced technology it uses to further its food security mission through the use of sustainable and localized hybrid-farming with limited water usage.
“Most countries want both localized food security and food sovereignty, where they actually have sovereign access and protection for food,” said Sky Kurtz, the CEO and founder of Pure Harvest.
The company designs and operates climate-controlled greenhouse systems that allow for the localization of food production anywhere in the world, regardless of climate.
“This is a marriage of real-estate development, agronomic science, technology and manufacturing consumer-packaged goods,” Kurtz said.
Pure Harvest began in the UAE and is now expanding into Saudi Arabia and Kuwait with the aim of producing affordable and natural produce across the region. Kurtz said that the company’s entry into the Kingdom will involve several farms in a number of cities to provide as many consumers as possible with reliable access to fresh and sustainable produce.
“Saudi Arabia is a big country and our goal is to have multiple assets across the country serving the major population centers,” he added.
Kurtz told Arab News that the first Pure Harvest farms in the Kingdom will be located in NADEC City, in Haradh.
“We are partnered with NADEC (the National Agricultural Development Company),” he said.
“It’s a very large-scale existing farm and we are able to leverage NADEC’s existing infrastructure.”
The partnership will allow Pure Harvest to use a 30 megawatt solar power plant that is already in place to power its climate systems at the site near Riyadh.
“It makes economic sense, resulting in affordable produce to the consumer, but also it’s much more sustainable using solar power, leveraging existing infrastructure and food miles, and that’s where we are starting,” Kurtz said.
Over time, he added, the plan is to expand and establish farms in Jeddah, Makkah and other locations in the Kingdom to provide more sustainable farming options.
“If Saudi consumers embrace it, we will build non-stop,” Kurtz said. “I believe we can build 100 hectares of capacity (in the next few years).”
He added that the company has already hired 20 people in Saudi Arabia and plans to hire another 20 each month, eventually creating thousands of jobs at each farm.
“I encourage young Saudis to join Pure Harvest Farms; this is the future of farming,” said Kurtz.