The design of a strategically important red meat production venture — part of an array of food-related ventures being spearheaded by the government in support of the nation’s long-term food security needs — will shortly commence, according to a high level official associated with the project. Saleh Mohammed al Shanfari (pictured), Chief Executive Officer of the Oman Food Investment Holding (OFIC), the government’s food sector investment arm, said the project has already achieved a number of pre-construction milestones.
It includes the completion of topographical studies covering the proposed site of the project at Thamrait in Dhofar Governorate, as well the drilling of a number of wells to assess the availability of potable water sources in the area, he said.
“The red meat project is progressing well,” said Al Shanfari. “A number of wells have been drilled, topographical studies completed, and the overall design will start soon,” he added in comments to the Observer.
Al Bashayer Meat Company SAOC, a partnership between OFIC and the Oman National Livestock Development Co (ONLDC), plans to develop the nation’s maiden red meat venture with an investment of around RO 37 million.
Unique in concept, the project centres on a strategy to import young livestock — chiefly sheep, goats and cattle — and then put them through a roughly eight weeks long fattening programme before they are ready for slaughter.
The Thamrait plant is proposed to include a high-tech abattoir with a capacity to produce 55,000 tonnes per annum of red meats when it is fully operational. This output will help reduce Oman’s dependence on red meat imports from the present average of 75 per cent to ultimately about 52 per cent, say officials.
Part of the RO 37 million investment will go towards the construction of modern farms for various types of livestock, as well as cold storage plants and packing units. Output from the project will be marketed locally, and potentially regionally and internationally as well, under a signature ‘Made in Oman’ brand. OFIC is overseeing the implementation of a substantial portfolio of food related ventures encompassing the production of poultry, eggs, milk and dairy products, among other processed foods. Total investment in these ventures is estimated at RO 100 million.