A summary of the latest halal food news from around the world.
Middle East and North Africa braces for Ukraine-Russia conflict linked wheat crisis
Following the outbreak of conflict between Ukraine and Russia, wheat prices on the Chicago Stock Exchange have soared to their highest prices in nine and a half years, Al Sharq Al Awsat reported, while in Europe a tonne of wheat is trading at around $384. The situation is particularly acute in conflict ravaged Yemen and Syria, and in financial crisis hit Lebanon. Egypt is highly dependent on both Russia and Ukraine for wheat, accounting for 50% and 30% of imports respectively, according to The National. In 2021, Egypt imported 11.6 million tonnes of wheat and produced 9.8 million tonnes, according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation. “Egypt has wheat reserves for at least four months, so we won’t have a problem for now, but there may be a problem after that,” Lamy Hamed, associate professor in the soil and water department at Cairo University’s Faculty of Agriculture, told The National.
Russia is a major agricultural exporter to the MENA region. One of the largest buyers is Saudi Arabia, at 77% of total exports to the region in 2021, and the UAE at 12%, according to Interfax. The main exports are barley, at 32%, wheat at 25%, sunflower oil at 12%, poultry meat at 11%, chocolate confectionery products at 7%, and beef at 3%. Russian halal exports to the GCC were $180 million in 2021, with poultry meat accounting for $96 million, and chocolate confectionery products and beef $56 million and $26 million, respectively.
Pakistan's Fatima Group signs $1 billion in deals at Expo 2020 Dubai
Fatima Group signed two MoUs worth over $1 billion with the China Machinery Engineering Company (CMEC) and Saudi Arabia’s Sarh Attaqnia Co. (SAC) at the Expo 2020 Dubai’s Agriculture Week, according to a Zawya press release. The Group has $1 billion in revenue in industries such as fertilizers, energy, textiles, sugar, cement, and venture capital investments. “CMEC as a technology partner will help with the adaption of climate-smart precision agriculture farm machinery, improved high-yielding seeds, and other crop inputs in Pakistan,” the release stated. Sarh Attaqnia Company is to invest in “developing a state-of-the-art agriculture value chain encompassing sustainable production, processing, warehousing, and export marketing of grain crops to help ensure regional food security.”
Egyptian logistics tech start-up OneOrder secures $1 million in funding round
Egypt’s OneOrder raised $1 million in a funding round led by A-15, a Middle East and North Africa (MENA) venture capital firm. OneOrder, founded in October 2021, is offering business-to-business (B2B) solutions to Egyptian restaurants to improve the supply chain, reported Zawya. "Given Egypt’s flourishing restaurant industry and the challenges it faces caused by a fragmented supply chain, OneOrder offers a much needed technology-enabled solution at the perfect time,” said Tamer Amer, founder and CEO, to Zawya. Egypt has some 300,000 restaurants, while the hospitality and food services sector generated some $13 billion in revenues in 2019, the report states.
Egyptian start-up FreshSource raises Seed funding
Startup FreshSource raised funding to enhance its initiatves to cut food waste by directly connecting farmers with businesses, cutting out the middle man and third parties. Founded in 2018 by siblings Farah Emara and Omar Emara, the company raised a seven-figure Seed round, led by Wamda and 4DX, Wamda reported. The startup “offers medium to large scale farmers the opportunity to enter into contract farming, thereby enabling them to have proper access to finance as well as farm input products,” according to Wamda. In addition to sourcing produce directly from farmers and distributing it to outlets, FreshSource provides “end-to-end last-mile connectivity for further enhanced logistics and storage services.”
South Korea’s Ne Ne Chicken expands in Singapore
Halal-certified fast-food chain Ne Ne Chicken is expanding in Singapore and has added Korean-inspired pizzas. The chain has more than 1,000 outlets in South Korea and six in Singapore, reported eatbook.sg.