We help clients in the Middle East strengthen local food supplies, stimulate local economies and ensure food security.

Agricultural strategies for a growing population

Gulf Cooperation Council countries enjoy relative food security, per rankings by the Global Food Security Index. However, the GCC’s heavy reliance on food imports makes it vulnerable to major supply chain disruptions. In addition, the region is highly vulnerable to animal disease outbreaks, which can create risk of food shortages and significant economic loss.

New strategies are needed to modernize agricultural systems, diversify local food supplies, predict and control zoonotic diseases, and promote a sustainable approach to natural resources. GCC governments are at a critical juncture for ensuring their growing populations have access to an abundant food supply – but the tools for safeguarding long-term food security are at hand.


Why Strategy&

We work with governments and private entities in the Middle East on large-scale agricultural transformation programs, food security strategies, agricultural agendas, and countrywide agri-partnerships and privatization projects.

With a strong understanding of regional and global market trends, our specialized hands-on team brings extensive experience and unmatched capabilities in the agricultural ecosystem across the region to see projects through from conception to completion.


How we can help you

Strategy design

We support governments and policymakers in setting visions, strategic plans and targets to ensure the sustainable development of the agricultural sector and rural communities, increase local and international competitiveness of agricultural products, promote food security, and develop an ecosystem to predict and mitigate animal disease outbreaks.

Rural development

We help policymakers design programs to promote rural agriculture and small farmers’ income levels and livelihoods — while also increasing local production, ensuring food safety and security, reducing rural exodus, and preserving natural resources.

Agricultural subsidies

We work with governments in the MENA region to devise effective subsidy schemes that support sustainable development goals and ensure food security and social protection, enhance farmers’ productivity, and speed disaster recovery.

Sector governance

We bolster the proper governance of the agricultural sector by identifying and defining the roles and responsibilities of public and private stakeholders and mapping the optimal interaction model that governs their cooperation. In addition, we support governments and authorities with defining and developing agricultural sector regulatory frameworks.

Agricultural transformation

We collaborate with agricultural ministries and bodies in designing, managing and executing large transformation programs. As an example, we assist with establishing new agricultural entities, including their organizational structure, manpower planning, processes and authority matrices. Moreover, we ensure successful migration to the target model by setting up, launching and monitoring pilot programs as well as managing the overall transformation journey.

Food security

We design and implement strategies to help increase the productivity of local farmers, facilitate imports, and reinforce supply chains.

Private Sector Participation (PSP)

We help clients apply economic, social, and environmental sustainability to their tourism agenda, while preserving heritage, cultural identity, and natural assets.

Research, development, and innovation

We support clients with their research, development, and innovation agendas to harness and advance the latest innovations in agriculture, aquaculture, and food security by designing and setting up innovation hubs, R&D centers, and research networks and consortia.

Growing agricultural strength: Stories from our clients

Developing a national agriculture champion

To help stabilize the country’s agricultural value chain and leadership, one MENA country set about transforming a publicly funded agri-food investment company into a global agriculture champion.

Strategy& helped the company define regional agricultural opportunities as well as the potential impact of a national champion.

We devised an implementation plan that aims to secure the import of strategic commodities and to plug gaps across the value chain. Diversification of the company’s investment portfolio and consolidation of local agri-food players will expand efforts over time and propel the company from regional to global powerhouse.

Improving agricultural service delivery

To improve quality and efficiency, and reduce operational burden, one GCC country launched a program to establish a standalone state-owned enterprise (SOE) to take over agriculture, livestock, and fishery services deliveries previously managed by the government.

Strategy& helped to define the SOE’s vision, mission, and values. We designed a full governance and operating model, identified revenue-generating services, and proposed the transition plan and privatization model.

The result was not only improved service quality, but a solid plan for sustainable provision, improved operations, and more efficient spending throughout the agricultural sector.

Empowering rural farmers

The ministry of agriculture in one MENA nation embarked on a countrywide agricultural rural development program. This program focused on eight key agricultural sectors: coffee, honey, roses, rain-fed crops, livestock, fisheries, fruits, and artisanal products.

The program’s goal was to empower small rural farmers and their families through additional employment opportunities and enhanced income levels. At the same time, the country sought to increase local production to ensure food safety and security, while also preserving natural resources.

Strategy& supported this program by designing a subsidy scheme to incubate small rural farmers until they could reach self-sustainability. We analyzed the rural agriculture sector and created a subsidy target model and payment mechanism, and delivered a complete rural agricultural development strategy to support long-term self-sustainability. The agricultural subsidy scheme and sector strategy design have been approved, and implementation is well underway.

Stimulating growth with agricultural subsidies

Governments in the MENA region face a complex challenge: to design the right agricultural subsidy scheme to stimulate farmer efficiency and productivity.

One GCC nation sought to redesign its agricultural subsidy scheme to align with its strategic goals. Strategy& worked with the ministry to evaluate existing subsidies within the livestock, poultry, aquaculture, and dairy sectors and set up a holistic plan to define, allocate and disburse subsidy payments.

Stimulating growth with subsidies
Transitioning to a privatization strategy

A leading institution in the GCC collaborated with Strategy& to develop a strategy for privatizing its milling assets, design the entity’s large-scale restructuring plan, and oversee and manage the privatization and transformation program.

The Strategy& team rolled out the privatization strategy and restructuring plan and successfully managed the setup of four milling companies, including the migration of approximately 3,000 employees, technical and administrative assets, and IT and regulatory capabilities to the target operating model. By April 2021, the milling assets were awarded to the private sector (four consortiums) with a total value of about SAR 5.7 billion.

Transitioning to a privatization strategy

Contact us

Salim Ghazaly

Salim Ghazaly

Partner, Strategy& Middle East

Roger Rabbat

Roger Rabbat

Partner, Strategy& Middle East

Ousama El Ghazzi

Ousama El Ghazzi

Principal, Strategy& Middle East

Aya Hallak

Aya Hallak

Principal, Strategy& Middle East

Ahmed Mokhtar

Ahmed Mokhtar

Principal, Strategy& Middle East