Oman Dairy project eyes 1 bn litre milk output by 2040

An ambitious dairy farm project promoted by state-owned Oman Food Investment Holding Co (OFIC) has in its sights an annual production of around 1 billion litres of milk by the year 2040 -- part of a landmark effort to reduce the nation's dependency on dairy imports.

  
26 October 2015
An ambitious dairy farm project promoted by state-owned Oman Food Investment Holding Co (OFIC) has in its sights an annual production of around 1 billion litres of milk by the year 2040 -- part of a landmark effort to reduce the nation's dependency on dairy imports.

Mazoon Dairy Co SAOC, billed as the flagship project of OFIC, is currently setting up a vertically integrated dairy farm and production facility with a capital investment of RO 100 million. Commercial operations are expected to commence in 2017 with a planned herd size of around 4,000 high-yield dairy cows, according to the holding company.

The dairy project is part of a raft of farm-relating ventures unveiled by Oman Food Investment Holding Co that promise to transform the Sultanate's strategically important agriculture and farming sector.

Through partnerships with state institutions, private investors and reputable operators, OFIC's goal is to support the government's food security strategy by spearheading domestic and international ventures integral to this national objective.

Mazoon Dairy Co SAOC, with an equity contribution of 20 per cent from OFIC, is envisioned as a mega-sized farm project with hugely beneficial strategic and socioeconomic implications for the Sultanate. The size of the herd is proposed to be progressively ramped up to a world-scale 25,000 head of cows by the 2026.

Most importantly, the project is expected to make a dramatic contribution to the reduction of Oman's dependency on milk imports, estimated at 69 per cent in 2014, to 13 per cent by the year 2026.

Annual milk output is projected at an estimated 202 million litres in 2026, rising to a staggering 985 million litres in 2040.

Net imports of milk are anticipated to drop to naught by 2040, allowing Oman to become a net exporter of dairy products for the first time in the nation's history. Equally, the project's contribution to job creation and backward integration is expected to be substantial. "The project opens wide opportunities in the employment market for Oman," according to OFIC. "Omanisation is expected to reach around 90 per cent in 10 years. It would employ approximately 2,300 staff in Year 10 and will also provide indirect employment through forward and backward linkage effects of the project," the holding company stated.

Along with Mazoon Dairy, Oman Food Investment Holding Co is also promoting a major poultry project with a capital outlay of RO 100 million, as well as a large-scale red meat project. The objective of the latter venture, according to the parent company, is to increase the domestic output of red meat from around 20 per cent presently to 52 per cent. This is sought to be achieved by investing in Omani-controlled production facilities in domestic and overseas locations, notably in Africa.

"The project will involve capital expenditure, both inside/outside Oman, in buildings, cattle, goat and sheep ranches, slaughterhouses and cold storage/freezing and packing units. The ultimate vision is to generate the output of 55,000 metric tonnes per year (of red meat)," the company added.

© Oman Daily Observer 2015