Al Dahra Pledges to Invest in Agriculture and Boost Serbian Exports
As reported by the United Arab Emirates news agency,WAM, on 25 January 2013, the Arab country has gone firm on its planned investment in the Balkans. At an official ceremony held at the Ministry of Finance and Industry in Abu Dhabi,Serbia's Finance and Economy Minister, Mladjan Dinkic, and Vice Chairman of Al Dahra Agricultural Company, Khadim Al Darei, signed a preliminary agreement for joint investment in the Southeast-European country's agricultural sector.
The Abu Dhabi-based company's pledge to invest in agriculture marks the beginning of a joint venture which will invest in eight Serbian farming companies. The agreement includes the upgrade of agricultural infrastructure and irrigation systems, as well as the acquisition of new farming technologies and machineries. The plan also involves the development of existing agricultural lands for the cultivation of various crops including corn, barley, wheat, sugar beet, soy beans, forage and citrus fruit over an area of about 14,000 hectares of owned and leased land.
Al Dahra is expected to inject an overall amount of about 200 million (170 million) into Serbia's agricultural sector, boosting the Southeast-European country's exports a year after drought caused an output decline of 17 per cent and damage of up to 1.5 billion (1.2 billion), which combined to push the country's gross domestic product down by an estimated two percent.By moving towards the realisation of its plans to invest in agriculture, Al Dahra also aims to meet Abu Dhabi's vision for long-term food security whereby a share of the
Serbian crops production will be supplied to the UAE market.
Khadim Al Darei confirmed that the newventure will enhance Serbia's position on the international agricultural trading map, while also contributing to the Emirates' vision for food security and sustainability.For his part, Serbia's Dinkic was quoted by WAM as saying:"We look forward to jointly reaping the benefits of these investments".
New Agricultural Company
Along with the announcement of its plans to invest in agriculture, Al Dahra stated that it has further ambitions for partnership with the Serbian government. The Abu Dhabi-based company revealed that it has started working on the establishment of a new company to operate in the Balkan country. Al Dahra Agriculture Serbia, which is set to launch this year, will be 80-per-cent owned by Al Dahra, with the remaining 20 per cent share being held by the Republic of Serbia.