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UAE’s Pure Harvest to open $30m facility in Kuwait to supply retailer Sultan Center

UAE’s Pure Harvest to open $30m facility in Kuwait to supply retailer Sultan Center

The farm will supply many varieties of tomatoes, vine crops, leafy greens and berries and is expected to open next year

Pure Harvest

UAE-based agritech firm Pure Harvest Smart Farms has signed a deal with Kuwaiti supermarket retailer The Sultan Center (TSC) for a multi-year, commercial off-take agreement.

As part of the partnership, Pure Harvest will invest over $30m to build a dedicated high-tech farm producing locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables to supply TSC’s supermarkets across Kuwait. The facility will also feature a visitor experience centre which will be open to TSC’s customers.

The partnership will enable the retailer to receive “sustainably-grown fresh produce year-round, and at a much greater value than comparable quality imports”, a statement said.

Pure Harvest designs, builds and operates high-tech, climate-controlled hybrid growing systems that use sunlight to grow fresh fruits and vegetables while using up to 90 per cent less water than traditional forms of agriculture.

The opening of the new facility in Kuwait will depend upon the “final site selection and resulting infrastructure requirements to serve the farm”, said Sky Kurtz, co-founder and CEO of Pure Harvest.

“There is significant design, engineering, procurement and construction work to be done to finalise the project. That said, it’s our expectation that TSC’s purpose-built farm will be fully operational in H2 2021.”

The total capacity of the facility has not been disclosed, but it will form a “substantial part of the fresh produce offering at TSC”, Kurtz stated.

“The new project will supply many varieties of tomatoes, vine crops, leafy greens and berries. The farm will produce year-round, so there will be a continuous, consistent quality supply available to TSC’s customers,” he added.

In early-2020, Pure Harvest received the “largest-ever agriculture technology investment” in the MENA region valued at over $100m from Wafra International Investment Company, to drive the research, development and deployment of controlled-environment agriculture solutions in Kuwait and across the region.

The company is also expanding its capacity in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

“This is a strategic win for us at Pure Harvest Smart Farms. Through this partnership, together TSC and Pure Harvest further food security, water conservation, economic diversification and sustainability within Kuwait and the region,” added Kurtz.

Read: Special focus: How the UAE is leading the charge in food security

The partnership, claimed to be the “first of its kind retailer-producer integrated partnership by any retailer or co-op in the MENA region”, also marks the first investment made by TSC in the agritech space.

“There has never been a more pressing time to invest in food innovation in the region,” said Khadija Oubala, CEO at TSC. “The region’s longstanding dependence on imports paired with growing demand for fresh produce highlight the importance of local farming.”

TSC will also share its customers’ requirements directly with Pure Harvest, informing them of aspects such as the variety selection and packaging while also conducting in-store sampling and promotional activities.

“We are investing before the growing system is built, which enables our partner to scale but also helps to eliminate waste in the value chain, including freight costs, which ultimately benefits our customers in the form of value-for-money,” said Nicolas Allan, COO at TSC.

“This project is emblematic of the many changes coming at TSC and we hope and believe that our customers will take notice that TSC is modernising retail for Kuwaiti consumers.”

Read: Disruptors in the UAE: How have they shifted the landscape?

 

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