This interview details Elite Agro Projects, an agriculture construction and engineering company based in United Arab Emirates. The interview is with Hassan Halawy, General. Manager of Elite Agro Projects.
What is the origin story of Elite Agro Projects?
Elite Agro Projects (EAP) was established in 2018 to support the growing business of Elite Agro Holding, initially we only catered for the Development and construction of our own (Elite) Farms in the UAE and internationally (Serbia & Morrocco).
Following our success, the projects division was spun off into an independent company that caters for the development and construction of agriculture projects in the UAE and Internationally (total of 8 Countries till to date) with the purpose of retaining the knowledge within the country.
Can you tell us more about the process of designing and constructing custom smart farms? What are some of the most crucial steps?
Elite Agro Projects (EAP) is an agriculture specialized EPC Contractor (Engineering, procurement and construction) we have our inhouse Engineering team that designs fit for purpose farms catering to the produce intended, the location of the farm, the local conditions of the area its intended to and customize these solutions to give the best success formula. Having catered (this process) for our sister companies first, this gives us the advantage of understanding the impact of our solutions on the productivity of the farm and their efficiency in terms of saving limited resources to optimize production. With the technology being made more abundant, adoption of technologies in our farms and turning them into smart farms is now an integral part of our designs to achieve sustainable and efficient production.
The most crucial part in the development of any project is understanding and capturing the actual requirements of the crop & the grower and reflecting it into our design and the technologies adopted. Recently EAP successfully built and handed over the first Arabica Coffee Production Greenhouse in the GCC using some patented low cost technologies to replace the mechanical chillers and cooling of the greenhouse and successfully achieving a good yield and production.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing Elite Agro Projects in the future?
The rising costs of the CAPEX in agriculture projects material is an eminent threat to our business as the unit economics of local production (if one looks outside of food security, local production and sustainability) are not competitive when compared to imports from neighboring countries that have more abundant and available natural resources from water, to fertile land and favorable weather.
What is unique about Elite Agro Projects compared to competitors?
There are several elements in our structure and mode of operation that gives us a comparative advantage to companies offering similar services; firstly we believe we are the only Agriculture specialized EPC contractors in the GCC, there might be bigger construction companies but they are not specialized in agriculture.
Our Engineering and construction team have gained considerable knowledge in handling the turnkey design & construction of any kind of agriculture project whether its an open field or protected (Nethouse, Greenhouse, Glass House) with ample experience in designing and executing the suitable irrigation infrastructure for the project along with the relevant processing facilities for the post harvest.
There are also several companies that are agents or representatives to international manufacturers or vendors whose experience is focused on selling the services of their vendors. At EAP we are vendor agnostic, with our strong procurement capabilities we can offer our clients the solutions that best fits them and offer it at a competitive rate.
How do you measure the impact of your company so far? (Revenue, Employees, Customer Quantity, Production Volume) etc?
Since its inception, EAP has been growing at a fast rate nearly doubling its revenue and its team on annual basis. Today we are a team of 200 and delivered more than 100,000 ha of successful projects in 7 countries that range from Open Field Pivot Irrigation Systems, to High Tech Glass Houses with Hydroponic Systems with a value exceeding 1 Billion AED.
What have you learned that you wish you knew when you joined or started the company?
EAP is part of Elite Agro Holding which is the Agriculture Division of Yas Holding a prominent, diversified and well established corporation in Abu Dhabi, what I have learned was the importance of corporate governance and how to function within the corporate world which I have not experienced before. Its not easy to work with, however when you look at the bigger picture and one starts to understand the importance of ESG and its positive impact and effect on our lives, you get to embrace more of that culture and understand what it delivers in terms of transparency and compliance. It gave a global perspective for sustainable growth.
How can people connect with you or learn more about Elite Agro Projects?
Im happy to connect and available mostly on Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/hassanhalawy
I try to answer all messages when my time allows and always open to new ideas and proposals.
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