Sheikh Mohammed Al Amoudi has appointed Jemal Ahmed of Horizon Plantations as Chief Executive Officer of Saudi Star Agricultural Development Plc.
HSaudi Star was founded in 2009 with the intention of creating one of the biggest commercial farms in Ethiopia. It leased an initial 10,000 hectares around the Alwero River from the Ethiopian Government for the development of high quality rice production, capable of being used both for domestic consumption and for export.
Currently only a small proportion of the land is being used to develop seed and to analyse the conditions for a later expansion of production. The appointment of Jemal Ahmed follows heavy and critical investment to create the infrastructure for rice production. The next phase of this project, for which Jemal Ahmed will be responsible, is related to production of greater quantities of Saudi Star rice. He will also be responsible for the restructuring necessary to ensure a fully functioning export capability.
Saudi Star has said that its latest projections target a production level of around 50,000 tons of rice from 7,000 hectares in use by the end of June 2015.
Saudi Star, Horizon Plantations and Ethio Agri-CEFT are central elements of the Sheikh’s African agribusiness strategy under the MIDROC Africa brand. Jemal Ahmed will have greater involvement with all aspects of these agricultural projects. Fikru Desalegn remains General Manager of Saudi Star and Essayas Kebede remains General Manager of Ethio Agri-CEFT which is mostly engaged in tea and coffee production for export. Mr Ahmed will remain CEO of Horizon Plantations.
Substantial investment by Saudi Star has already taken place to purchase agricultural machinery and equipment, to construct a 42km canal (critical to the supply of water required by rice production) and to purchase two husking and drying mills in Gambella and a whitening and packaging facility in Bishoftu, 45km east of Addis Ababa. The Sheikh thanked the outgoing CEO, Haile Assegide, previously Minister for Urban Development, Housing & Construction, for ensuring that the basic infrastructure was in place for further commercial development.