Through innovative agricultural measures, Amtaar Investment looks to create a sustainable agro-business in Sudan and tackle food security issues in the Arab world
As a joint venture between the UAE based Jenaan Investment and the Republic of the Sudan, Amtaar is today the country’s largest scale agricultural investment.
Seeking to be a leader in the development, cultivation and production of forage, grains and other crops, Amtaar’s aim is to become a vital organization in world food security, particularly in the Arab world where dry climates and barren lands make it increasingly difficult to feed the fast growing population.
With Sudan’s fertile lands and underdeveloped agriculture sector long touted as the answer to this problem, in 2010 Abu Dhabi based Jenaan investment signed a deal with the Sudanese government (60% Jenaan, 40% Sudan) to finally make this a reality.
After signing the deal, Amtaar set out on its mission: to create a sustainable agro-business by tackling food security issues through innovative agricultural measures. The company spent one year extensively analyzing the environment in Sudan before beginning mobilization in late 2011.
“Until now, our vision has been to help achieve food security for the UAE and the Gulf countries,” explains Khalil Al-Shamry, General Manager of Jenaan Investment. “We started with 137,000 acres and now we have finished the infrastructure for almost thirty thousand acres. We believe, as this is only our pilot project, that within the next ten years we will be able to cultivate a minimum of one million hectares, but first we wanted to check Sudan’s conditions, and our technology.”
For Amtaar and Sudan, developing technology is key to the success of the project. Amtaar’s fundamental task is to pioneer the industry by using the latest technological advancements in agriculture and to successfully produce the highest quality product. Thus the company has committed itself to exploring and developing innovative technologies and techniques for improvements in the agricultural sector by setting up a research and development facility and state-of-the-art irrigation system.
As Mr. Al-Shamry explains, Amtaar’s irrigation system not only increases productivity, but also helps to save energy. This is a crucial innovation in a country that is still working to improve its power supply.
“We have collaborated with a South African company to produce a new irrigation system which saves about thirty-five percent of the water and thirty percent of the energy. So, with that saving, it also achieves better yield.”
While Amtaar has successfully collaborated with other international organizations, such as their partners in South Africa, the investment group’s parent firm Jenaan has also been able to draw experience and transfer expertise from its operations all over the world as a multinational company.
The semi-governmental organization from the United Arab Emirates also has subsidiaries in the United States, Spain, Egypt and Ethiopia. Thanks to such vast experience in the agriculture sector all over the globe, and its highly skilled and dedicated staff, Mr. Al-Shammari believes that Amtaar is one of the industry’s leading companies.
“We have a saying in our company: the best company in the world shall accommodate the best people in the world. So, I believe our people are the best of the best.”
Mr. Al-Shammari also believes that working in Sudan is not only made easier by the perfect weather conditions for growing crops, but the beauty of the country and the “kindness” of the people.