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India, Saudi to build rice distribution hub in Dubai

india rice exports Saudi Arabia and India have formed a new joint venture to build a rice distribution hub in Dubai to link Indian production to consumers in Middle East, Arab News reported.

Prince Mishaal bin Abdullah bin Turki and global private investor V Raman Kumar have formed the joint venture with India’s rice producer, LEAF India (Lakshmi Energy and Foods), to create West Asia and North Africa region’s largest hub for rice storage and distribution, Arab News said.

The venture, Innovo Specialty Foods JLT, created by an investment of about $27 million, aims to set up a storage, processing, polishing and packaging facility with a capacity of over 100,000 tonnes of Basmati rice during 2014, it said.

“Our concept idea of creating this rice hub will aim to contribute and deliver food security objectives in the UAE,” Kumar was quoted as saying by the paper.

“Food security is clearly an immediate priority for the UAE and wider West Asia. The region is entering a new period of economic growth underpinned by a burgeoning population with a high dependence on imported food.

“Currently, 20% of all UAE imports comprise food items and 90% of food is imported but there are only 3 months of basic food items stored, so food security cover is not fit for the rapidly growing economy,” he said.

Kumar said the 100,000 tonnes of Basmati rice capacity that will be created in Jebel Ali, UAE, will be a giant step for this region to strengthen its food security strategy. “We look to take this strategy to Saudi Arabia as well in the near future. We believe that execution of a core food security strategy is essential to provide a sustainable growth platform,” he said.