National Bank of Bahrain chief executive Abdul Razak A Hassan Al Qassim.
MANAMA: The Finance Ministry, acting through the Future Generation Reserve, and the National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) have agreed to set up a BD100 million ($265.2m) fund.
The objective of the Gedha Fund is to develop Bahrain's food self-sufficiency by investing in viable projects and technologies in agriculture, dairy farming, fisheries, livestock processing and poultry etc.
At a ceremony held at the NBB headquarters in Manama and attended by Finance Minister Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa and Future Generation Reserve chairman Farouk Almoayyed, a memorandum of understanding for the promotion and development of the Gedha Fund was signed by NBB chief executive Abdul Razak A Hassan Al Qassim and Future Generation Reserve chief executive Mohammed M Al Sulaity.
The fund will focus on medium- to long-term investment in projects within and outside Bahrain that would help the kingdom attain self-sufficiency in food.
The fund will promote and invest in viable existing companies and projects engaged in agriculture, poultry and allied sectors and enable them to scale up their activity levels.
It will also promote viable start-up companies engaged in agriculture, poultry and allied activities and purchase land in overseas countries for captive production
"The Gedha Fund is a joint initiative between the Future Generation Reserve and the NBB to help Bahrain in its march for progress," Shaikh Ahmed said
"In keeping with the aims and goals outlined in the Economic Vision 2030, this fund endeavours to improve Bahrain's food security.
"We are delighted to partner the NBB in this strategic initiative that will not only address the food requirements of the kingdom but will also prove to be a model for more partnerships between the public and private sectors," he added.
"It is a special moment not only for us at NBB but for the entire kingdom," said Mr Al Qassim.
"Food is one of the most significant aspects in the progress of any nation.
"It is imperative that the nation is able to ensure that its citizens have access to enough food at all times.
"Given the fact that land is at a premium in the country, especially arable land, it is extremely important to ensure that the kingdom is geared to attain self-sufficiency in food.
"The Gedha Fund has been set up with the objective of assisting Bahrain to achieve self-sufficiency in food," he said.
"We, at NBB, are extremely delighted and proud to be associated with this initiative which illustrates how we can develop market-based solutions and leverage resources to make a sustainable impact," he added.
"The Future Generation Reserve's partnership with the NBB is designed to address the needs of many of our most important stakeholders," said Mr Al Sulaity.
"We are pleased to be combining powerful local networks, proven experience in development assistance and strong industry expertise to help create a venture that will positively impact the livelihood of local farmers, address the critical issue of food self-sufficiency and create sustainable business opportunities for the kingdom," he added.
The Gedha Fund will be a closed-ended private equity fund that would be incorporated with limited liability under the laws of Bahrain.
"The fund will seek approval of the Central Bank of Bahrain to be registered as an exempt collective investment undertaking," he added.