US business mission eyes Saudi agro-food deals

JEDDAH: Top American firms are seeking new partnerships with leading agriculture and food companies in the Kingdom.

There are also plans to promote Saudi dates in the US as a healthy snack and a new addition to the American diet, according to the US-Saudi Arabian Business Council (USSABC).

The council is leading a delegation of 15 US companies to the Kingdom from Sept. 17 to 24. These firms are involved in agriculture, water and food industries.

Major companies include Schreiber Foods, Turkey Hill Dairy, Oregon Hay Products, and Holstein Association USA, Inc.

The mission consists of top companies specializing in agricultural production, irrigation, livestock breeding, processed and halal food, organic fertilizers, soil treatment, animal feed and feed additives, land-use mapping, and low water use grass seeds.

Participants of the business development mission will exhibit at Saudi Agriculture 2011/Agro-Food show in Riyadh.

The delegation will be located within the American Pavilion at the event with a total of five booths.

In conjunction with the show, the Business Council will facilitate one-on-one meetings with leading Saudi agriculture and food companies for potential partnership.

“The Business Council recognizes that food security is of utmost importance to Saudi Arabia,” said Edward Burton, USSABC president and managing director.

“This is the second time the Business Council has attended Saudi Agriculture/Agro-Food, and we have made it a priority to support the King Abdullah Food Security Initiative.”

One of the companies who took part in last year’s mission, The Royal Palm Group, will announce with Othaim Markets, a new all-American Halal poultry production for the Kingdom.

Iowa and Wisconsin, known for their natural feed grain and pure water, are raising the chickens for the contract to supply Othaim Markets. The value of the contract will be announced at the Saudi Agro-Food Exhibition.

Likewise, the Royal Palm Group, intends to establish its new Palm Date Company in Saudi Arabia in order to buy, pack and export Saudi Arabia’s best palm dates to the US.

“We intend to make the Saudi dates famous in America as a healthy snack and a new addition to the American diet,” said John Parke Wright IV, managing director of the Royal Palm Group.

The mission program includes briefings from Tahwid Al-Saffy, director of the Agriculture Trade Office at the US Embassy in Riyadh and Samir Kabbani, chairman for the National Agriculture Committee at the Council of Saudi Chambers.

Delegates will also hear a presentation from the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA).

The Business Council is organizing a number of events for the delegation including a reception at the Riyadh Equestrian Club on Sept. 21for leading company executives and council members.

On Sept. 24, the delegation will visit the Al-Ahsa Chamber of Commerce and Industry to hold talks with local farming and agribusinesses.

Saudi Arabia is the largest market in the Middle East for agriculture products and technologies.

The sector has recently averaged an 8 percent annual growth rate, due in part to a rapidly growing population.

Reflecting the government’s strong support of the sector’s continual development, agriculture, water, and infrastructure projects received $13.55 billion of the 2011 government budget, an increase of 10.4 percent over the previous year.

The US-Saudi Arabian Business Council is a non-profit organization that works to improve the mutual knowledge and understanding between the private sectors of the US and Saudi Arabia and promote and facilitate increased bilateral trade and investment.


Published: Sep 11, 2011 22:43