RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA – EQS Newswire – 7 February 2024 – Saudi Arabia imports large volumes of unprocessed rice from India and Pakistan every year, with a projected market volume of about USD 3.8 billion in 2023. However, many current customers and new investors in Saudi have recognized the enormous market potential offered by processing the rice in Saudi itself and are seeking to enter the market. This, along with the government’s food security concerns, offers a large area of opportunity for Bühler’s storage solutions and technology.
With one of the highest consumptions of rice in the Middle East, 47 kilograms (kg) per capita annually, rice is a high priority in Saudi Arabia’s government food security initiatives, particularly since India’s ban on some rice exports last year. According to the country report from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, Saudi is one of the world’s largest importers of rice at 1.35 million tonnes annually; of this, 76% is imported from India and 9% from Pakistan. Revenue is likely to amount to USD 3.83 billion in 2023 and the market is expected to grow annually by 3.51% (CAGR 2023-2028).
However, very little rice is processed locally in Saudi; it is imported fully processed and then repackaged and resold. Existing customers and new investors ready to enter the field have recognized the huge potential that the processing market offers in Saudi and are seeking to enhance their existing operations. “Investors want to buy in bulk, build processing facilities, and enter the B2B and retail market. They see the potential for business optimization – for example, rice increases in value with age – if it is imported in bulk and stored in silos,” says Mohamed Jebabra, Country Manager, Bühler Saudi Arabia.
This opens up opportunities for Bühler’s complete storage solutions, such as its conveyors and the Mercury MES factory automation system, which is able to cover all stages of white rice processing from intake and cleaning to polishing, sorting, and packing for differing plant capacity and requirements. These solutions can be bundled with Bühler’s Total Care for optical sorters, through which customers are supported with a range of customized maintenance and service packages, and the Bühler Insights platform for digital services (https://www.buhlergroup.com/global/en/services/digital-services/buhler-insights.html).
ln addition, in the interests of food security and localization of product, the government also wants to limit imports of processed, finished products. With 45 years of contribution to food security in Saudi, Bühler recognizes the importance of a local presence. “We are a solution provider and true partner. We have been present in the kingdom since 1978 and have a local capability in sales and after-sales services,” says Jebabra.
Bühler’s most distant customer is only a two hour-flight away in the event that on-site service is required, and it is also able to carry out remote care maintenance jobs. The team in Riyadh comprises numerous nationalities, which is a major advantage in terms of understanding customer requirements. “We speak the customer’s language, be it Arabic, French, English, Urdu or Hindi,” says Jebabra. “We believe that our performance assessment workshops carried out on site are the right approach to achieving the set goals in terms of efficiency enhancement of a plant. This is a value-added service offered by Bühler, whereby a dedicated process engineer or other expert identifies pain points and finds solutions following clear targets from the customer. It serves as a base for the customer in the decision-making process.”
Rice holds immense cultural significance in Saudi Arabian cuisine and with global rice prices soaring, concerns about food security are increasing. As a major importer of Indian rice, the country faces new challenges, and recognizes the need to diversify and broaden its food strategy – and Bühler is well placed to support customers in that journey.
Bühler is driven by its purpose of creating innovations for a better world, balancing the needs of economy, humanity, and nature. As a relevant solution partner for the food and mobility industries, Bühler has developed a pathway to achieve a 60% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in its operations by 2030, meaning Greenhouse Gas Protocol Scopes 1 & 2, against a 2019 baseline. It has committed to having solutions ready to multiply by 2025 that reduce energy, waste, and water by 50% in the value chains of its customers. Billions of people come into contact with Bühler technologies as they cover their basic needs for food and mobility every day. Two billion people each day enjoy foods produced on Bühler equipment; and one billion people travel in vehicles manufactured using parts produced with Bühler technology. Countless people wear eyeglasses, use smart phones, and read newspapers and magazines – all of which depend on Bühler process technologies and solutions. Having this global relevance, Bühler is in a unique position to turn today’s global challenges into sustainable business. Bühler contributes to safely feeding the world and is doing its part to protect the climate, producing solutions that make cars, buildings, and machinery more energy efficient.
Bühler spends up to 5% of turnover on research and development annually. In 2022, some 12,700 employees generated a turnover of CHF 3.0 billion. As a Swiss family-owned company, Bühler is active in 140 countries around the world and operates a global network of 105 service stations, 30 manufacturing sites, and Application & Training Centers in 23 countries.