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Wed 2 Nov 2011 07:13 PM

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Bahrain launches $265m fund to seek food investments

Future Generations Reserve Fund will invest in agriculture, livestock, fish projects

Bahrain launches $265m fund to seek food investments
Arab farming (Photo for illustrative purposes only)

A Bahraini sovereign wealth fund has launched a BD100m ($265m) food security fund to invest in agricultural projects in the tiny Gulf kingdom and abroad, an official said on Wednesday.

"The fund is based on purely commercial principles," Mohammed Mubarak al-Sulaity, chief executive of Bahrain's Future Generations Reserve Fund (FGF), told Al Arabiya television on Wednesday.

"Obviously, we will focus on supporting food security of the kingdom, which is a strategic issue. But at the same time there will be a good return on this fund for the next 10 to 12 years, the estimated lifespan of the fund."

He said the fund will look for opportunities in staple crops, dairy, livestock, poultry and farmed fish projects.

Sulaity did not say whether the fund would buy agricultural land in Asian and African countries like its Gulf neighbours including the United Arab Emirates in its efforts to secure long-term food supplies.

"We will first focus on existing and new projects in Bahrain ...then in the future we will look into relevant agricultural projects outside the kingdom," he said.

The fund has start-up capital of BD10m, half of which was contributed by the National Bank of Bahrain, Sulaity said.

"Other parties will be contacted to reach the needed capital of 100 million dinars," he said.

FGF was created in 2006 by a royal decree to invest surplus oil revenues. It's fully owned by the Bahraini government.

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