Red Sea Farms hopes to hit 30 hectares of desert farm operations by end of 2022

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Updated 05 June 2022

Red Sea Farms hopes to hit 30 hectares of desert farm operations by end of 2022

Red Sea Farms hopes to hit 30 hectares of desert farm operations by end of 2022
  • Founded in 2018, Red Sea Farms grows fresh produce in enclosed and climate-controlled farms
  • It uses sunlight and saltwater as base resources instead of relying on rainfall, fresh groundwater, or desalinated water

RIYADH: Agriculture technology startup Red Sea Farms is planning to widen the scope of its greenhouse space in Saudi Arabia to 100 hectares in the next three years, said a top executive of the company.

Speaking to Arab News, Simon Roopchand, Red Sea Farms’ new global COO and regional CEO of the Middle East, said: “We have an expansion plan for the Kingdom that will take us to over 100 hectares of greenhouse space in the next three years.”

The company hopes to achieve 30 hectares of desert farm operations by the end of this year and has already started cultivating snack tomatoes and snack pepper in the Kingdom.

“Our objective is to expand the produce business to cater to the region’s market and ensure that we have the right quality of locally grown produce,” said Roopchand.




Red Sea Farms COO Simon Roopchand. (Supplied)

With the low supply of berries in the region, the company is currently experimenting with producing a wide range of locally grown berries in their greenhouses.

Ploughing on sunshine and sea water

Founded in 2018, Red Sea Farms grows fresh produce in enclosed and climate-controlled farms that largely depend on saltwater to cool greenhouses and irrigate crops.

The company uses sunlight and saltwater as base resources instead of relying on rainfall, fresh groundwater, or desalinated water.

Its innovative technology saves 300 liters of freshwater per kilogram of produce — an approach effective in areas where water is sparsely available and arable land is scarce.

“It’s all based on a sustainable food supply that we can deliver in a very sustainable way,” said Roopchand.

Red Sea Farms last month raised $18.5 million from Saudi Aramco’s Wa’ed, The Savola Group, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Innovation Fund and OlsonUbben to expand its presence in the Gulf Cooperation Council region.

It will also use it to increase its fresh produce line and sell its technology to users in critically water-depleted regions. The company has also earmarked a global expansion plan that is expected to generate its first-generation product sales by the fourth quarter of 2022.

“We want to provide our technology to make it commercially viable for operators and farm growers to grow where it wasn’t possible before,” Roopchand said.

He added that the company aims to be a leading sustainable food business in the GCC, with their products currently being sold in the region.

“One of our challenges is keeping up with the demand. We can see that growing food security is a problem globally, and we are expanding quickly,” he added.

One reaps what one sows

The company has also partnered with The Red Sea Development Co. in the Kingdom as a leading supplier of sustainable fresh food. The ag-tech company will produce a diverse range of fresh leafy greens, herbs, vine crops, vegetables and fruits, including berries.

“We are partnering with TRSDC to produce vegetables and fruits for them sustainably. It’s a huge development,” said Roopchand.

The move assumes significance since The Red Sea Project will welcome 300,000 guests annually by 2023 and upwards of 14,000 employees, which could become a logistical bottleneck, especially in a remotely located and largely arid area.

On the research front, the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Controlled Environment Agriculture Center is evaluating Red Sea Farms’ technology and its potential to produce crops in arid environments.

The university will integrate the company’s technology and study its adaptability for one year before deploying it across the US.

“We are a research-based company, so we won’t stop innovating. We want to feed the world sustainably. To do that, we need to keep reducing our requirements on fossil fuels, monitoring our carbon footprint, and ensuring that we can have local people in harsh environments growing quality crops,” Roopchand said.


Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Sunday

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Sunday
Updated 12 sec ago

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Sunday

Here’s what you need to know before Tadawul trading on Sunday

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's stock market declined to one of its lowest levels in months last week due to concerns that rising interest rates could push the global economy into recession.

TASI, the main index, fell for a second consecutive day on Thursday to end 0.1 percent lower at 11,311 points, while the parallel Nomu market added 0.4 percent to 20,728.

Qatar led the fall in the Gulf with a 1.6 percent decline, followed by a 1.1 percent drop in Dubai’s stock index.

Stock exchanges of Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait all lost between 0.2 and 0.7 percent.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt’s index EGX30 closed 01.8 percent lower.

Oil prices rose on Friday, buoyed by tight supply. Brent crude settled at $113.12 a barrel and US West Texas Intermediate reached $107.62 a barrel.

Stock news

Mouwasat Medical Services Co. closed a SR295 million ($79 million) deal with Tareg Al-Jaafari Contracting Co. for the construction of a hospital in Yanbu industrial city

Methanol Chemicals Co. said it would pay SR273 million in total as an early loan repayment to the Saudi Industrial Development Fund and lending banks

The Saudi Stock Exchange will launch futures trading on single stocks on July 4, as its second derivatives product after introducing index futures in late 2020

Calendar

June 26, 2022

Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Co.’s subscription to new shares ends

June 27, 2022

End of Alamar Foods’ IPO book-building

Retal Urban Development Co. will start trading its shares on TASI

June 28, 2022

End of the Saudi Investment Bank’s Sukuk offering

July 4, 2022

Start of single-stock futures trading on Tadawul


Saudi Exchange to allow single-stock futures in July on selected shares to bolster liquidity

Saudi Exchange to allow single-stock futures in July on selected shares to bolster liquidity
Updated 25 min 52 sec ago

Saudi Exchange to allow single-stock futures in July on selected shares to bolster liquidity

Saudi Exchange to allow single-stock futures in July on selected shares to bolster liquidity

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange will launch futures trading on single stocks on July 4, amid efforts to bolster liquidity and lure investors into the region’s biggest bourse.

It added that the first tranche of the futures contracts will include Al Rajhi Bank, Saudi Aramco, Saudi National Bank, Alinma Bank, SABIC, Saudi Kayan, Saudi Telecom Co., Saudi Electricity Co., Almarai, and Ma’aden. 

A single-stock future is a type of futures contract between two parties to exchange a specified number of stocks in a company for a price agreed today with delivery occurring at a specified future date.

The move will “enable local and international investors to hedge and manage portfolio risks more effectively as well as diversify products available for trading and hedging in the market,” Tadawul said in a statement.

Single-stock futures will be the second derivatives product on the Kingdom’s bourse, after the launch of index futures in late 2020.


Oil Updates — Oil settled up; G7 considering ways of capping Russian oil price; US drillers add oil and gas rigs for a record 23 months

Oil Updates — Oil settled up; G7 considering ways of capping Russian oil price; US drillers add oil and gas rigs for a record 23 months
Updated 40 min 56 sec ago

Oil Updates — Oil settled up; G7 considering ways of capping Russian oil price; US drillers add oil and gas rigs for a record 23 months

Oil Updates — Oil settled up; G7 considering ways of capping Russian oil price; US drillers add oil and gas rigs for a record 23 months

RIYADH: Oil prices settled up by more than $3 a barrel on Friday, supported by tight supply, but they notched their second weekly decline on concern that rising interest rates could push the world economy into recession.

Brent crude settled up $3.07, or 2.8 percent, at $113.12 a barrel by 12:10 p.m. EDT. US West Texas Intermediate crude settled up $3.35, or 3.2 percent, at $107.62.

No government guidance on pricing policy: Incoming Petrobras CEO 

The incoming CEO of Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras told a corporate committee he has not received any guidance from the government on changing the firm’s fuel pricing policy, a document showed on Saturday.

Caio Mario Paes de Andrade, a former economy ministry official appointed by President Jair Bolsonaro to run Petrobras, was approved by the eligibility committee on Friday, a key step for him to take the reins of the company.

The minutes of the meeting, published by Petrobras on Saturday, showed the committee had asked Andrade about the company’s pricing policy, a topic that helped bring down three CEOs during Bolsonaro’s tenure as price hikes created tensions with the far-right leader.

“I have no specific or general guidance from the controlling shareholder or any other shareholder in the sense of changing the company’s pricing policy,” Andrade said.

He is on the verge of taking over as CEO a month after he was named by Bolsonaro, awaiting a board vote on June 27.

G7 considering ways of capping Russian oil price

Leaders of the Group of Seven rich democracies are having “very constructive” discussions on a possible cap on Russian oil imports, a German government official said on Saturday shortly before the start of the annual three-day G7 summit.

The proposal is part of broader G7 discussions on how to further crank up the pressure on the Kremlin over its invasion of Ukraine without stoking global inflationary pressures.

The Ukraine war, energy and food shortages and the darkening global economic outlook are expected to dominate the agenda of the summit that is taking place this year in Schloss Elmau, an alpine castle resort in southern Germany.

The US, Canada and Britain have already banned imports of Russian oil while EU leaders have agreed on an embargo that will take full effect by the end-2022 as part of sanctions on the Kremlin over its invasion of Ukraine.

With energy prices soaring though, the West fears such embargoes will not actually put a dent in Russia’s war chest as the country earns more from exports even as volumes fall.

A price cap could solve that dilemma, while also avoiding further restricting oil supply and fueling inflation, officials say, but for it to work, it requires buy-in from heavy importers like India and China.

“We are on a good path to reach an agreement,” the official said.

The official said the G7 was also discussing the need to combine ambitious climate goals with the need for some countries to explore new gas fields as Europe rushed to wean itself off Russian gas imports.

US drillers add oil and gas rigs for a record 23 months

US energy firms this week added oil and natural gas rigs for a second week in a row, in a record 23-month streak of increases, as high crude prices and prodding by the government prompted drillers to return to the well pad.

The oil and gas rig count, an early indicator of future output, rose 13 to 753 in the week to June 24, its highest since March 2020, energy services firm Baker Hughes Co. said in its closely followed report on Friday.

Baker Hughes said that puts the total rig count up 283, or 60 percent, over this time last year.

US oil rigs rose 10 to 594 this week, their highest since March 2020, while gas rigs gained three to 157, their highest since September 2019.

That put the overall oil and gas rig count up for a record 23 months in a row, gaining 26 in June. It also put the count up for seven quarters in a row, the longest streak of gains since 2011.

The oil rig count was up for a record 22 months in a row, rising 20 in June. It also increased for the seventh quarter, the most quarters since 2012.

The gas rig count rose by six in June, rising for a 10th month in a row, tying the record set in May 2010. It also put the gas count up for seven quarters in a row, matching the record set in 2004.

(With inputs from Reuters) 

 


G7 considering ways of capping Russian oil price — German official

G7 considering ways of capping Russian oil price — German official
Updated 26 June 2022

G7 considering ways of capping Russian oil price — German official

G7 considering ways of capping Russian oil price — German official
  • The proposal is part of broader G7 discussions on how to further crank up the pressure on the Kremlin over its invasion of Ukraine without stoking global inflationary pressures

SCHLOSS ELMAU, Germany: Leaders of the Group of Seven rich democracies are having “very constructive” discussions on a possible cap on Russian oil imports, a German government official said on Saturday shortly before the start of the annual three-day G7 summit.
The proposal is part of broader G7 discussions on how to further crank up the pressure on the Kremlin over its invasion of Ukraine without stoking global inflationary pressures.
The Ukraine war, energy and food shortages and the darkening global economic outlook are expected to dominate the agenda of the summit that is taking place this year in Schloss Elmau, an alpine castle resort in southern Germany.
The United States, Canada and Britain have already banned imports of Russian oil while European Union leaders have agreed an embargo that will take full effect by end-2022 as part of sanctions on the Kremlin over its invasion of Ukraine.
With energy prices soaring though, the West fears such embargoes will not actually put a dent in Russia’s war chest as the country earns more from exports even as volumes fall.
A price cap could solve that dilemma, while also avoiding further restricting oil supply and fueling inflation, officials say, but for it to work, it requires buy-in from heavy importers like India and China.
“We are on a good path to reach an agreement,” the official said.
The official said the G7 was also discussing the need to combine ambitious climate goals with the need for some countries to explore new gas fields as Europe rushed to wean itself off Russian gas imports.


Inflation sparks global wave of protests for higher pay

Inflation sparks global wave of protests for higher pay
Updated 25 June 2022

Inflation sparks global wave of protests for higher pay

Inflation sparks global wave of protests for higher pay
  • Economists say Russia’s war in Ukraine amplified inflation by further pushing up the cost of energy

NEW YORK: Rising food costs. Soaring fuel bills. Wages that are not keeping pace. Inflation is plundering people’s wallets, sparking a wave of protests and workers’ strikes around the world.

This week alone saw protests by the political opposition in Pakistan, nurses in Zimbabwe, unionized workers in Belgium, railway workers in Britain, Indigenous people in Ecuador, hundreds of US pilots and some European airline workers. Sri Lanka’s prime minister declared an economic collapse Wednesday after weeks of political turmoil.

Economists say Russia’s war in Ukraine amplified inflation by further pushing up the cost of energy and prices of fertilizer, grains and cooking oils as farmers struggle to grow and export crops in one of the world’s key agricultural regions.

As prices rise, inflation threatens to exacerbate inequalities and widen the gap between billions of people struggling to cover their costs and those who are able to keep spending.

“We are not all in this together,” said Matt Grainger, head of inequality policy at antipoverty organization Oxfam. “How many of the richest even know what a loaf of bread costs? They don’t really, they just absorb the prices.”

Oxfam is calling on the Group of 7 leading industrialized nations, which are holding their annual summit this weekend in Germany, to provide debt relief to developing economies and to tax corporations on excess profits.

“This isn’t just a standalone crisis. It’s coming off the back of an appalling pandemic that fueled increased inequality worldwide,” Grainger said. “I think we will see more and more protests.”

The demonstrations have caught the attention of governments, which have responded to soaring consumer prices with support measures like expanded subsidies for utility bills and cuts to fuel taxes. Often, that offers little relief because energy markets are volatile. Central banks are trying to ease inflation by raising interest rates.

Meanwhile, striking workers have pressured employers to engage in talks on raising wages to keep up with rising prices.

Eddie Dempsey, a senior official with Britain’s Rail, Maritime and Transport Union, which brought UK train services to a near standstill with strikes this week, said there are going to be more demands for pay increases across other sectors.

“It’s about time Britain had a pay rise. Wages have been falling for 30 years and corporate profits have been going through the roof,” Dempsey said.

Last week, thousands of truckers in South Korea ended an eight-day strike that caused shipment delays as they called for minimum wage guarantees amid soaring fuel prices.

Months earlier, some 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) away, truckers in Spain went on strike to protest fuel prices.

Peru’s government imposed a brief curfew after protests against fuel and food prices turned violent in April. Truckers and other transport workers also had gone on strike and blocked key highways.

Protests over the cost of living ousted Sri Lanka’s prime minister last month. Middle-class families say they’re forced to skip meals because of the island nation’s economic crisis, prompting them to contemplate leaving the country altogether.

The situation is particularly dire for refugees and the poor in conflict areas such as Afghanistan, Yemen, Myanmar and Haiti, where fighting has forced people to flee their homes and rely on aid organizations, themselves struggling to raise money.