Wafra Portfolio Company to build Sudan's first large-scale commercial rice farm

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Hisham El-Khazindar, co-founder of Citadel Capital

Zawya | 06 April 2010

El-Nahda for Integrated Solutions has signed an agreement with the White Nile Governorate for a 30-year lease on 60,000 feddans [25,210 hectares] of land in Ed Dueim (150 kilometers south of Khartoum) on which it will build that nation's first large-scale commercial rice farm.

El-Nahda for Integrated Solutions is fully-owned Portfolio Company of Wafra, Citadel Capital's Platform Company in the Sudanese agriculture industry. The farm will produce rice primarily for domestic consumption in Sudan, a net importer of rice, allowing any excess to be exported to other nations in Africa and the Middle East.

"El-Nahda is just our latest venture in the Sudanese agriculture sector," said Hisham El-Khazindar, Managing Director and Co-Founder of Citadel Capital, the leading private equity firm in the Middle East and Africa with US$ 8.3 billion in investments under control in 15 industries spanning 14 countries. "As the third Portfolio Company under Wafra, El-Nahda builds on our experience at SEAC and Sabina. Sabina is on track to have 3,000 feddans [1,260 ha] under cultivation by next June, while SEAC will be ready to seed 20,000 feddans [8,400 ha] by the onset of the rainy season in mid-2011."

The Sudanese farm will grow high-quality long-grain rice, which El-Nahda will process at a new rice mill to be constructed on the site. The lease area is flooded for up to eight months per year by water held back by the Jebel Al-Awliaa Dam. Earthworks for the farm will include the construction in stages of a major levee bank to exclude the water, then regulate it back onto the property to grow the rice.

Wafra has hired industry expert Peter Draper, an Australian national, to serve as managing director of El-Nahda for Integrated Solutions. In addition to direct industry experience ? his farms in Australia received high yields awards ? Mr. Draper has worked extensively with the Australian Rice Growers' Association and served for six years as the director for the Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Rice Production. He is also a past recipient of the Australian Nuffield Farming Scholarship, which he used to study cool season pulse crops suitable for rotation with rice.

About Wafra

Wafra is Citadel Capital's Platform Company for the Sudanese agriculture industry and includes Portfolio Companies Sudanese Egyptian Agricultural Crops Company (SEAC, 250,000 feddans [105,000 ha] in southern Sudan), Sabina (254,000 feddans [106,680 ha] in northern Sudan) and Al-Nahda for Integrated Solutions, which is building Sudan's first commercial rice farm.

Original source: Zawya
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