UAE firm harnesses solar energy to power Egypt’s agri production - GulfToday

UAE firm harnesses solar energy to power Egypt’s agri production

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Abu Dhabi-based International Holding Company (IHC) is building a pioneering solar-powered irrigation system to drive increased energy-efficient agricultural (agri) production in Egypt.

The initiative, which is designed to be replicated across the country, aims to increase production of fruit and vegetables for export, create skilled jobs in a modernised agriculture sector, and optimise energy and water resources.

IHC’s subsidiary, Al Hashemeya Company for Land Reclamation and Cultivation, has invested Dhs1.5 million in constructing the pilot project, which is made of six wells spread over 500 acres, using photovoltaic system to help pump water onto 10,000 acres (4,050 hectares) of farmland in the Wadi Al-Natroun region of northern Egypt. Al Hashemeya is aiming to operate more than 80 wells over the next five years with an Dhs20 million investment, making 75 per cent of the total power needed coming from solar energy.

Mamoon Othman, Chief Executive Officer of IHC Food, commented: “IHC’s project in Egypt is demonstrating what can be achieved across the country and the wider region to rapidly advance the agriculture sector, which is key to increasing exports. Solar is a reliable and cost-effective source of energy in this environment, and its deployment for irrigation is increasing crop yields and enhancing competitiveness. We see a bright future for the sector if this project can be replicated widely.”

 The system will steadily increase generation capacity to 17 MW to provide 75 per cent of the farm’s total energy needs at less than half the cost of electricity from the national grid. It is estimated that solar power will be available for 5 to 6 hours in the winter season and between 8 and 10 hours in the summer.

 IHC was founded in 1998, as part of an initiative to diversify and grow non-oil business sectors in the UAE. Adhering to ‘Abu Dhabi’s Vision 2030’, the ADX listed company endeavours to implement sustainability, innovation, and economic diversification initiatives across what is now one of the region’s largest conglomerates.

IHC has a clear objective of enhancing its portfolio through acquisitions, strategic investments, and business combinations. Comprising more than 30 entities, IHC seeks to expand and diversify its holdings across a growing number of sectors, including Real Estate, Agriculture, Healthcare, Food and Beverage, Utilities, Industries, IT and Communications, Retail and Leisure, and Capital. With a core strategy to enhance shareholder value and achieve growth, IHC drives operational synergies and maximizes cost efficiencies across all verticals - it also continues to evaluate investment opportunities through direct ownership and entering partnerships in the UAE and abroad. As the world changes, and new opportunities arise, IHC remains focused on resilience, innovation and redefining the marketplace for itself, its clients, and its partners.

Abu Dhabi-based International Holding Company’s subsidiary Multiply Holding plans to launch an online wellness and prevention platform called HealthyU in the UAE.

The platform aims to improve users’ wellness by offering access to online consultations with specialists in areas such as sleep health, fitness, nutrition and mental well-being, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We’ve identified a particularly growing demand in the wellness and preventative health industries, especially in consumer-friendly digital solutions,” Samia Bouazza, chief executive of Multiply Holding, said.

The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in increased demand for health services, which, in turn, has attracted more investment into health technology firms.

IHC, which is listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and is majority owned by the PAL Group of Companies, has steadily expanded its portfolio by acquiring businesses in emerging technologies, real estate and health care, among others.

The company’s healthcare arm owns Quantlase Imaging Lab, the company behind the rapid Covid-19 screening system operated on the border between Abu Dhabi and Dubai at Ghantoot.

The move to launch HealthyU adds preventative health to IHC’s portfolio and “complements its existing healthcare businesses, which include investments in Oxford Nanopore Technologies, Tamouh Healthcare and Quantlase Lab”, according to the statement.

The HealthyU platform will allow the users to access advanced diagnostic services at labs across the UAE.

“Digital opportunities and innovations in the field of wellness and longevity are increasingly taking centre stage,” Lara Itani, project manager at HealthyU, said.

The platform will provide “tremendous value to its users as it will offer access to personalised plans, programmes and tips that help increase energy, mental alertness, productivity, immunity and overall well-being”, she added.

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