How would you assess the level of diversification of Hassad Food's investment portfolio, especially the progress done in recent years?
Hassad's investment portfolio is quite diverse, as we aim to support the country's food security initiatives by investing in businesses that brings strategic and commercial value. In the last few years, we have revamped and expanded our investment portfolio, both internationally and locally, and acquired stakes in key strategic commercial entities in a number of countries.
Hassad currently has direct and indirect investments in more than 18 countries around the world such as Australia, Canada, Turkey, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Qatar. All those investments are operating within our targeted investment segments such as seeds and grains, livestock, poultry, seafood, and others. Locally, we have 10 strategic investments operating in key segments such as food facilities management, agriculture production and marketing, poultry production, animal feed production and supply, dates processing, strategic grain reserves as well as meat and dairy sectors.
What are Hassad's investment criteria and principles to take decisions in this field?
When approaching a new investment, there are a number of investment principles that guide us, such as investing in business that brings strategic value to Qatar's food security initiatives, investing in independently operating assets with positive financial profile, as well as targeting segments that have positive and sustainable growth profile in the near future. Moreover, we acquire minority equity stakes in most of the international investments as well as Serttstakes in local strategic assets.
How have the investments in Qatar's local agricultural capacity helped overcome potential logistics issues due to COVID19?
Over the past couple of years, Hassad managed to develop new robust facilities and integrated marketing platforms, such as establishing a state-of-the-art facility dedicated for providing marketing services to local farmers and developing four central markets. Hassad also expanded and revamped the operations for its poultry, fodder, vegetables, and dates investments. This contribution provides the Qatari market with the needed logistical support at all times, especially during the pandemic.
Qatar's agritech market is seeing a rapid growth. How has Hassad been involved in this regard?
Utilizing technology in food production is particularly important in regions with harsher climate conditions as Qatar. Innovative solutions are needed to ensure sustainable high yield, using less water. Thus, we continuously support and collaborate with research and development institutions in projects that aim to advance the local agricultural sector to achieve self-sufficiency. In late 2019, we collaborated with distinguished international and local entities to launch Qatar's first pilot water saving greenhouse at one of Hassad's greenhouses in Al Shahaniya. Upon the completion of the project after a one-year trial, the pilot greenhouse demonstrated great results in yield and water consumption for fresh vegetables cultivation. The productivity achieved in the greenhouse was three times higher than the average productivity of tomato cultivation in Qatar, while water consumption was 12 times less. All these results were achieved by using an innovative water saving system, as well as applying the tailored fertilizer recipes in the pilot greenhouse.
What will be Hassad Food's priorities over the course of 2021?
We managed to establish a great foundation in the past few year with our global and local investments, and we are now looking to grow and secure other investments in line with our investment strategy and principles.