Khalifa Economic Zones Abu Dhabi – KEZAD Group, a wholly- owned subsidiary of AD Ports Group) and Al Ghurair Foods, a leading regional manufacturer and supplier of high-quality food and part of Al Ghurair Investment, on Friday signed a 50- year land lease agreements for three mega food processing projects involving investments of over $272 million.
The signing ceremony was held at KEZAD’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi in the presence of Abdullah Al Hameli, CEO Economic Cities & Free Zones, AD Ports Group, Mohamed Al Khadar Al Ahmed, CEO, Khalifa Economic Zones Abu Dhabi – KEZAD Group, and a delegation from Al Ghurair Investment comprising Ibrahim Al Ghurair, Non-Executive Board Director, John Iossifidis, Group Chief Executive Officer, and Djamal Djhouri, Chief Executive Officer, Al Ghurair Foods, KEZAD said in a filing with Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange on Friday.
The agreement will mark the first phase of Al Ghurair Foods division’s investments in KEZAD. The first two projects are set to establish the region’s first of its kind Starch Processing Plant, in addition to one of the top Broiler producers in the UAE, in terms of capacity, implementing the highest standards of food safety in line with International Biosecurity standards, in a boost for local and regional food security.
The third project, details of which are set to be announced later this year, will see the division’s involvement in the debut of Abu Dhabi Food Hub – KEZAD, which will form an all-new supply market for the UAE. The projects are set to drive the UAE’s food production capabilities and enhance the Emirates’ position as a regional hub driven by innovation and technology.
Driving UAE’s Food Agenda
Abdullah Al Hameli, CEO Economic Cities & Free Zones, AD Ports Group, said that as front runners in the UAE’s efforts in food security, his company was delighted to welcome Al Ghurair Foods to KEZAD and the Abu Dhabi Food Hub as they continue to build the largest integrated ecosystem for trading of all food commodities in the region.
“We are confident that this agreement will drive the nation’s food security agenda and further enable KEZAD’s aim of improving domestic food supply and enhancing the nation’s capacity to respond to future challenges,” Hameli added.
Mohamed Al Khadar Al Ahmed, CEO Khalifa Economic Zones Abu Dhabi – KEZAD Group said that they were excited to include Al Ghurair Foods to KEZAD’s expanding portfolio of clients in the company’s Food Ecosystem.
“Al Ghurair Foods’ establishment of its first-of-a-kind plants in Abu Dhabi speaks volumes of KEZAD’s leading position as a regional and global trade hub. The company’s presence will significantly strengthen the food supply chain and guarantee domestic supply as well as exports from one of the region’s fastest growing trade and industrial ecosystem,” he added.
John Iossifidis, Group CEO, Al Ghurair Investment, said that the agreement with KEZAD Group reflected Al Ghurair Investment’s commitment and drive to enhancing the Emirates’ food production capability and food security.
“Through this agreement, we are proud to continue the pioneering legacy of Al Ghurair, establishing future-focused projects that support the national food security agenda with a partner whose vision of a connected world, aligns with our own. As we reimagine the future, we do so with an innate understanding of the evolving needs of our customers, locally and beyond. We look forward to working with KEZAD to delivering high-quality food products across a future-focused supply chain platform, strengthening the nation’s role as a regional food hub,” he added.
The investments also mark Al Ghurair Investment’s growing footprint across the nation beyond its existing investments across the Northern Emirates and Dubai, a key milestone for the group. Beyond their economic benefit, the plants are also set to support the nation’s sustainability agenda through introducing a range of sustainable practices.
Djamal Djouhri, CEO, Al Ghurair Foods division, said that the agreement reinforced their commitment to enhance domestic food supply, with a strong emphasis on adopting sustainable practices for improved food safety.
“As we accelerate our pursuit of better, we will continue to invest in producing a range of nutritious, healthy and sustainable food products of the highest standard, whilst remaining dedicated to supporting the local ecosystem and communities in which we operate,” Djouhri added.