Muscat: A major dairy project, which is expected to boost Oman's fresh milk production capacity, will be launched soon in the Dhofar governorate, said an official in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Minister of agriculture and fisheries Fuad bin Ja'afar Al Sajwani has already issued a ministerial decision in this regard and also established a founding committee to work for the establishment for this ambitious project.
While the proposed dairy plant's milk production capacity is not known, it would be involved in large scale activity of collecting and producing milk. According to National Centre for Statistics and Information, in 2012, Oman produced just 72 tonnes of fresh milk, a marginal increase of over 71 tonnes in 2011 and 70 tonnes in 2010.
Oman's dairy market is dominated by Saudi fresh milk producers. It has been widely noticed that the local fresh milk producing companies only supplement the market needs that foreign players do not fulfil.
The official said that the proposed dairy project will have massive private sector participation and foreign direct investment. The government has decided to reduce its share from 60 per cent to 40 per cent by distributing its share between Omani National Livestock Development Company and Oman Food Investment Holding Company.
The committee will encourage the private sector to participate in the project through direct contacts or by organising investment marketing seminars. It is also expected to invite foreign players with previous experience and expertise in dairy production to address the capital gap, said the official, citing the ministerial decision.
The ministry has already carried out a feasibility study. The committee is expected to update the study, if required. The committee will make a presentation about the project as a whole in the second stage so that the new partners joining the project have a clear idea about it, he said.
The committee has been asked to obtain the environment related clearances from the authority concerned. It will also start the process for obtaining clearance for the government loan meant for new companies.
The 10-member committee formed by the ministry is headed by Dr Rashid bin Salim bin Hamad Al Masruri, chief executive officer of the Public Authority for Stores and Food Reserves. Along with senior government officials, Mohammad bin Jawad bin Hassan bin Suleiman, head of the Steering Committee of the Omani National Company for Livestock Development, Saleh bin Mohammad Al Shanfari, chief executive officer of Oman Food Investment Holding Company are also the members of the committee.
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