Urea exports from Oman-India Fertiliser Company (OMIFCO), limited until a few years ago to India under a long-term supply deal, now cover as many as 14 countries globally, a top official of the Sur-based joint venture project has revealed.
Ahmed Said al Marhoubi (pictured), CEO, said the uptake of Omani urea – a key nitrogen-based fertilizer used extensively as a crop nutrient in the agriculture sector – has also grown significantly in the Sultanate of Oman in trend with national efforts to boost the country’s food security.
“Since 2021, OMIFCO has exported urea to more than 14 countries across four continents, including the US, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, South Africa, Mozambique, Thailand, Nepal, and India. In addition, OMIFCO continues to meet the domestic urea requirements of the local Omani farmer community,” Al Marhoubi stated in an interview published in The Business Year, a UK-based global media group.
A subsidiary of wholly Omani state-owned OQ Group, OMIFCO operates a major facility at Sur Industry City with a capacity to produce 1.65 metric tonnes/year of urea and 350,000 tonnes/year of ammonia. All of the urea output was shipped to India under a 15-year offtake agreement that expired in 2020.
OQ Trading (OQT), the commodity trading business of OQ Group, which oversees the marketing of OMIFCO’s ammonia and urea output, has since secured markets around the world for these commodities, some under multi-year offtake arrangements.
In August 2020, Swiss-based international agri-business trader Ameropa said it had signed a 3-year deal with OQ Trading to lift part of OMIFCO’s urea output. A similar agreement was also inked by India in February 2022 for the import of 1 million tonnes of urea from OMIFCO for a three-year period.
According to Al Marhoubi, the JV has also ramped up its support for local farmers in line with a broader commitment to strengthening the nation’s food security objectives
“OMIFCO recognizes its role as a critical stakeholder in addressing food security in the Sultanate of Oman and globally. We have always been at the forefront of making a meaningful contribution to enhancing food security locally. Some of our initiatives include providing urea at subsidized prices for local farmers, distributing farm equipment, providing refrigerated trucks for farmers, and mobile veterinary clinics. OMIFCO is also setting up greenhouses in schools to get the attention of young Omanis and shape their minds on farming methodologies,” the CEO stated in The Business Year interview.
Further, in line with this vision, OMIFCO recently signed an agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources to fund the establishment of an indoor vertical farming project to support the cultivation of leafy greens, he added.