CASE IH AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY PLOUGHS THE DESERT IN EGYPT
By providing powerful agricultural equipment and technical assistance, the brand is participating in Saudi firm Al-Rajhi International's US$400 million project to grow corn and wheat in Africa's arid lands.
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LUGANO, Switzerland - (July 28, 2009) - Case IH, the global manufacturer and seller of agricultural equipment part of the Fiat Group (FIA.MI), is supplying its modern agricultural equipment and expertise to the Saudi Arabian firm, Al-Rajhi International Investment Co., for a project aiming to grow corn and wheat in an arid 100,000 acres area in Toshka, Southern Egypt. Twenty-eight Case IH units will be supplied over the coming months, including tractors, tandem disc and chisel ploughs, planters and harvester combines.
With this undertaking, Al-Rajhi International Investment Co. and Case IH are moving into the ambitious Toshka project. One of the most outstanding civil engineering achievements in Egypt, the Toshka project will contribute to the population of a new fertile valley in the south of the country, as directed by Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak. This arid area has benefitted from huge investment with a system of irrigation canals constructed over the last ten years. The water taken from Lake Nasser will be pumped from the irrigation canals into the land area designated to Al-Rajhi for cultivation, which represents alone 1/5 (450 Km2) of the entire area to be reclaimed to the desert according to the Toshka project's objectives.
Case IH, through its distributor ECAD (Egyptian Company for Automation and Development), supplied the first units of powerful tractors and seeders, which are already working the field and will be used to plant corn during the summer season and wheat during the winter season in the designated area. These are the first crops ever to have been grown in this desert area.
Thanks to its full range of products for all agricultural operations, Case IH is assisting Al-Rajhi International Investment Co. in every phase of the project. Case IH's agricultural consultants and specialists are providing all the technical assistance in field for the development of the project, indicating best practices and providing solutions that fit the project's unique needs.
"Temperatures vary widely in the inland desert areas. Machines are working in extreme conditions, a long way from all facilities and are subjected to exceptional mechanical stresses. Our toughest commitment is to ensure they run smoothly, and that is what we are doing in close collaboration with ECAD and Al-Rajhi International Investment Co," said Hicham El Mouktafi, Case IH Business Manager North Africa.
The objective of the project is to irrigate and cultivate the entire 100,000 acres area by the end of 2011, thus producing an estimated yield of 290,000 tonnes of corn and more than 210,000 tonnes of wheat from the fields.
This project is part of a bigger plan by which Saudi's private firm estimates spending US$400 million by 2011 to produce wheat and corn in Egypt and other African countries.
Al-Rajhi International Investment Co. is concentrating investments in economic developmental opportunities which will guarantee widespread growth for the Al-Rajhi Group, and will also be a valuable addition to the Saudi economy. The company is investing in "real business", such as agribusiness which will reduce the Saudi Arabian economy's dependence on exported food stuffs, while not compromising the country's scarce water resources.
Food security has topped the policy agenda in the arid Gulf Arab region following rampant inflation in 2008 that underscored its dependence on imports and forced countries to invest abroad to ensure supplies of staples such as rice and wheat. As a consequence, Saudi Arabia has urged companies to invest in farm projects abroad after deciding last year to reduce wheat production by 12.5 percent per year, abandoning a 30-year-old programme to grow its own which had achieved self-sufficiency but compromised the desert kingdom's scarce water supplies.
The Al-Rajhi Group has a wide portfolio of investments, both domestic and international, in a variety of economic sectors including banking, industry, real-estate, agriculture and livestock, poultry, road transportation, cement manufacturing, construction and trading.
Case IH is one of the country's market-leaders in terms of sales and a reference point for mechanized large-scale farming. Case IH's operations in Africa and the Middle East are coordinated from CNH International's offices in Istanbul, Turkey, and from the representative offices in Johannesburg, South Africa. The company is present in those areas with more than 130 importers, dealers and sub-dealers which are committed to assisting Case IH's customers to develop their business.
Case IH is the professionals' choice, drawing on more than 160 years of heritage and experience in the agricultural industry. A powerful range of tractors, combines and balers supported by a global network of highly professional dealers dedicated to providing our customers with the superior support and performance solutions to be productive and effective in the 21st century. More information on Case IH products and services can be found online at www.caseih.com. Case IH is a brand of CNH (NYSE:CNH), a majority-owned subsidiary of Fiat Group (FIA.MI).