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Turkish Agriculture Benefits from Saudi Investment

by 5m Editor
20 July 2009, at 9:25a.m.

TURKEY - Saudi Arabia's Plant Food World, has announced it will invest $3 billion in the Turkish agriculture sector, including poultry production.

Private Saudi firm, Planet Food World (PFWC), will invest around $3 billion in agriculture in Turkey over the next five years to export food products to the Gulf region, the head of its Turkish unit told Fresh Plaza.

PFWC wants to build 20,000 industrial farms over the next five years, Mete Mutluoglu said in an interview.

Each farm is seen at 10,000 square metres and will raise vegetables and fruits as well as having fish, poultry, sheep and cattle-raising facilities. PFWC's total land usage in Turkey is seen at 200 square kilometres, he said.

"This may all be increased, if it is possible. Most of the exports will go to Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Peninsula although we would also like to export to Russia and Europe."

He said turnover from the activities may be in the range of $20 billion in five years for the agricultural goods and could go even higher when additional planned food and animal-processing plants are functioning.

Gulf investors have turned to Turkey's large areas of arable land as a destination for agriculture investment, seen totalling billions of dollars in the next few years, in order to secure food resources for their populations.

A Gulf investment fund made up of Abu Dhabi Investment House, Gulf Finance House and Ithmaar Bank in October signed a $6 billion memorandum of understanding for agriculture investments in Turkey.

Food security is expected to be a major concern over the coming years, and the 'Group of Eight' major industrialised nations have focused on raising billions of dollars for agricultural investments.

Saudi Arabian firms have been looking abroad to grow food for the country and Gulf region. PFWC also has a project in Ethiopia, while others are looking at Tanzania and Sudan.

PFWC, which is registered in the United States, will bring its first five prototype farms on line next week in northwestern Turkey. Mutluoglu said the company would start land acquisition and leasing for the farms in the next four to five months.

Land acquisitions would be made from government agencies that own land, cooperatives, privately held foundations that have arable land, or from subsistence farmers, according to Fresh Plaza.