Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund has established a new company to support the growth of the local camel farming industry as part of the sovereign wealth fund's strategy to boost economic diversification in the kingdom.
Sawani Company will seek to be a leading producer of camel dairy products.
It will work in partnership with the private sector to boost the production capacity of the industry and support the domestic ecosystem by modernising operations, improving the localisation of knowledge and investing in the sector’s latest technologies, the PIF said in a statement on Thursday.
“Saudi Arabia has extensive experience and knowledge of the camel dairy industry and enormous potential to expand its operational capabilities and wider ecosystem," Majed Al-Assaf, head of consumer goods and retail in the Mena investments division at PIF, said.
"These factors represent a competitive advantage across the entire supply chain, which, alongside investment, will enable significant growth of the industry, and eventually lead to the export of camel dairy products, which have many nutritional benefits, to regional and global markets.”
The PIF, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, is at the heart of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 strategy, which seeks to cut the country’s reliance on hydrocarbons to fuel its economy.
Since 2017, the fund has established 84 companies across its 13 strategic sectors.
It has more than 2 trillion Saudi riyals ($533 billion) in assets under management and aims to double that by 2025, PIF governor Yasir Al Rumayyan said in May.
The PIF has been instrumental in creating more than 500,000 direct and indirect jobs and intends to create another 1.8 million by 2025, he said.
It also plans to inject up to 1 trillion riyals into new projects in Saudi Arabia and “will continue its efforts to diversify the economy, support local content, develop innovative opportunities for the future and contribute to creating an attractive environment for investments”, Mr Al Rumayyan said at the time.
The setting up of Sawani comes as part of the PIF's strategic focus on the food and agriculture sector, it said.
The fund has also set up the Saudi Coffee Company, which promotes Saudi Khulani coffee beans, and the Halal Products Development Company, which invests in the halal products sector.
The new company will focus on sustainability throughout all the stages of production, distribution and marketing, and raise awareness of the health benefits of camel dairy products among consumers, the PIF said.
Camel milk's nutritional benefits include high amounts of minerals and vitamins such as A, B, E and C. It is also rich in calcium, protein and antioxidants. Camel milk is also considered low in cholesterol and is easy to digest.
Sawani will also showcase the history and cultural heritage of camel husbandry within Saudi Arabia.
"A key part of the company’s strategy is to increase awareness and knowledge of the industry in order to preserve it, as well as driving sustainable growth through the introduction of the best scientific practices in modern manufacturing technologies at the local level," the PIF said.