RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA — A joint venture between Cargill and ARASCO, a Saudi Arabia-based food manufacturer, has opened a corn milling facility in Saudi Arabia.

The Middle East Food Solutions Co. (MEFSCO) facility in Al-Kharj will help meet the growing demand from the region’s food and beverage industry, the companies said.

It is Cargill’s first investment in Saudi Arabia and shows its commitment to the Middle Eastern economy, the company said.

“The Middle East food industry is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets,” said Julian Chase, global Leader for Cargill starches, sweeteners and texturizers. “The MEFSCO facility gives regional food and beverage manufacturers access to high quality, innovative products produced specifically for them. ARASCO’s local knowledge and supply chain infrastructure were crucial in our ability to design a facility that best serves local market needs.”

The MEFSCO facility was built to serve the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC), which include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar. With the new plant, the joint venture is able to double its glucose and starch production capacities, triple total production volume and expand its product portfolio to include high-fructose corn syrup.

The expansion allows MEFSCO to offer enhanced, market-specific solutions for Middle Eastern customers.

“In the Middle East, consumer awareness around food safety and hygiene is growing steadily,” said Ziyad Alsheikh, chief executive officer of MEFSCO. “Cargill’s expertise in processing agricultural commodities into high-quality sweeteners and starch-based products will provide our regional customers with an edge in making products that respond to this consumer trend. Customers will be able to serve the market’s demand with products that MEFSCO will manufacture to the strictest food safety and hygiene standards in our state-of-the-art Al-Kharj facility.”

The MEFSCO joint venture was established by Cargill and ARASCO in 2013.