Three food processing plants with an investment value of AED 1 billion ($272 million) are to be built in Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa Economic Zones (KEZAD) as part of efforts to boost UAE food security.

The plants, which will include the region’s first starch processing plant, and one of its largest broiler projects, are to be built after KEZAD Group signed lease agreements with Al Ghurair Foods. 

The agreements are the first phase of Al Ghurair Foods’ investment in KEZAD, with the third of the three projects to be announced later this year, which will form a new supply market for the UAE.

Abdullah Al Hameli, CEO, economic cities and free zones, AD Ports Group, said: “As front runners in the UAE’s efforts in Food Security, we are delighted to welcome Al Ghurair Foods to KEZAD and the Abu Dhabi Food Hub as we continue to build the largest integrated ecosystem for trading of all food commodities in the region.

“We are confident that this agreement will drive the nation’s food security agenda and further enable KEZAD’s aim of improving domestic food supply and enhancing the nation’s capacity to respond to future challenges.”

The new plants will enhance protein production in the country and reduced reliance on imported goods, a statement from Al Ghurair and Kezad said, as well as partnering with local farmers to create sustainable business models in support of the overall ecosystem.

(Writing by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Daniel Luiz)