UAE’s Al Ghurair to invest USD 1 bn in sugar agriculture project
INVESTMENT WATCH- UAE’s Al Ghurair Group will invest USD 1 bn in a massive sugar cultivation and processing project, which some are already calling the largest foreign direct investment in Egypt since the EGP float. The project will see the company develop 181k feddans of reclaimed desert land west of Minya to grow 1 mn tonnes of beets per year, Investment Minister Sahar Nasr announced in a press conference on Monday. The company will also develop a USD 400 mn sugar production facility, she added, according to Al Masry Al Youm. The project is expected to cover 80% of Egypt’s sugar supply deficit, which runs between 25-30%, said Agriculture Minister Abdel Moneim El Banna. The project is expected to be completed in four years.
Meeting the demands of our collective sweet tooth appears to have become a top economic priority for the government, which on Sunday approved raising the price it pays local farmers for sugarcane to EGP 720 per tonne, up from EGP 700 per tonne. The new price will be applied retroactively to all sales to the government so far this season, Supply Minister Ali El Moselhy announced. The government has purchased 1.2 mn tonnes of sugarcane from farmers during the current harvest season, which runs from January until May. Egypt is forecast to produce around 1 mn tonnes of sugar from sugarcane, in addition to 1.3 mn tonnes from sugar beets, Reuters reports. Domestic consumption stands at around 3 mn tonnes each year.