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Wed 27 Aug 2008 09:55 AM

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Al Qudra to invest in 400,000 hectares of land

Al Qudra subsidiary expanding agricultural operations, to grow corn, wheat and rice.

Al Qudra Holding, the Abu Dhabi-based investment company, plans to acquire around 400,000 hectares of land in the Middle East, East Africa and Far East by the end of the first quarter of next year in a major expansion of its agricultural operations.

Al Qudra Agriculture, a subsidiary, will grow corn, wheat and rice, as well as raise cattle and other produce for sale in both local and export markets, including the UAE, according to UAE daily The National.

“We have all seen the major shortages in the world,” said Mahmood Ebraheem al Mahmood, the chief executive of Al Qudra Holding.

“Supplying food to the UAE would be one of our main objectives, but this business is international from day one. We are planning to supply other countries too.”

Among the locations in which the company had obtained land or was negotiating to acquire suitable parcels were Pakistan, Syria, Vietnam, Thailand, Sudan and India. The first crops would be produced by 2012.

The company has already acquired 1,500 hectares of land in Morocco and Algeria and within the next year, the business will start exploring opportunities to buy land in North and South America, Mr Mahmood said.

Faced with rising food prices, the UAE and other GCC countries have been looking for more reliable agricultural resources.

In June, Dr Kayan Jaff, the head of the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation’s office in Abu Dhabi, said the UAE and its GCC neighbours needed to invest billions of dollars in farms overseas to mitigate the problem of soaring food prices.

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