The Oman Food Investment Holding Company (OFIC), which is implementing a large portfolio of strategically important ventures in support of the Sultanate’s food security goals, has announced the formal launch of its soybean production plant with an investment of around RO 38 million.
Saleh bin Mohammed al Shanfari (pictured), Chief Executive Officer of the wholly government-owned strategic food investment vehicle, said the facility, due to come up in Sohar Port and Freezone, will be designed to produce 750,000 tonnes of soy feed and 175 tonnes of soybean oil per annum. The project’s output will help meet 100 per cent of the nation’s requirement of soy feed for the burgeoning poultry farming sector, which currently depends on imports for its needs, Al Shanfari noted.
In a tweet, the CEO said the new venture is the fifth in a series of investments being made by OFIC in line with the Omani government’s strategy to secure the Sultanate’s basic food requirements over the long term. The holding company has already implemented projects linked to dairy farming and milk processing, poultry cultivation and table egg production, milk collection in Dhofar Governorate, and red meat production.
More recently, the company agreed to work with ASYAD Group, the state-owned holding company for transport and logistics investments, to strengthen the supply and logistics chain necessary to underpin the growth of a strong agriculture and farm sector.
Soy feed from the new project will be supplied to the growing array of poultry farms currently in operation, as well on the anvil, around the Sultanate, said Al Shanfari. Also known as soybean meal, the feed is a key protein supplement used in poultry diets.
Domestic poultry production capacity, currently estimated at 30,000 tonnes per annum, is projected to surge to around 120,000 tonnes per annum over the next 3-5 years. Contributing to this quantum leap in capacity is, among other investments, A’Namaa Poultry Co SAOC, a subsidiary of OFIC, which is developing a 60,000 tonnes capacity mega poultry project in Ibri with an investment of around RO 100 million.
Together with current market heavyweight A’Saffa Foods, which has plans to double capacity to around 40,000 tonnes, as well as a couple of other smaller poultry farming schemes in the works, the demand for soybean meal for the emerging industry is expected to grow exponentially
Soybean as feedstock for the project is proposed to be imported from a number of markets internationally.