Abu Dhabi: The UAE will soon enjoy the taste of its very own homegrown caviar.
Under the brand name of Royal Caviar Company, the Abu Dhabi-based holding company, Bin Salem Holding, launched what is set to be the Middle East's first and largest caviar farm in the capital yesterday.
The Dh420 million project was created in partnership with United Food Technologies (UFT), a German company specialised in the construction of modern and highly technological aquaculture.
It is expected to have its first harvest before the end of this year and its first commercial harvest of caviar and fillets in the second half of 2012.
Once at full production in 2015, the factory will be capable of producing up to 35 tonnes of high quality Ossietra type caviar and 700 tonnes of sturgeon meat per year.
The factory currently contains approximately 18 tonnes of sturgeon with a further 124 tonnes scheduled for delivery later this year, officials said. The company also announced the impending delivery of around 120,000 sturgeon eggs, which will be the UAE's first home-grown sturgeon, in addition to 20 rare albino sturgeons.
Ahmad Al Daheri, CEO and Vice-Chairman of Bin Salem, said that the business plan had been in development for a number of years, where the fish had already been bought and raised for the past three years in Germany.
"Abu Dhabi is ideally placed to become one of the world's most successful producers of caviar, as we are convenient to the fastest growing markets in the Middle East and Asia, and I look forward to The Royal Caviar Company being the caviar of choice across the globe," he said.
"We have worked closely with Bin Salem over the past three years to develop a factory perfectly suited to the environment here," said Christoph Hartun, Chairman of UFT.
"It has been a long journey working hand in hand with Bin Salem, but we are excited to be here in Abu Dhabi to see a busy factory with fish arriving each week, and we look forward to the first harvest of Abu Dhabi caviar," he added.
The project required significant financing, Michel Nassour, Chief Financial Officer at Bin Salem, told reporters, for which the company approached a number of banks.
The Royal Caviar has received 60 per cent of its financing from Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, with the rest provided by other stakeholders.