Oman’s new Central Fruits and Vegetables Market is on track for completion in the first quarter of 2024, according to a key investor in the landmark project.
Khalid al Khatib, Investment Director at Oman Infrastructure Fund (Rakiza) – part of Oman Investment Authority (OIA), said the sprawling facility currently under development at Khazaen Economic City in Barka, is a “nationally important project” that will serve the market needs of more than half of the national population.
“Rakiza’s 500,000 square metre fruit and vegetables market is coming to life. Take a look at the recent progress of our fully air-conditioned, state-of-the-art facility, set to complete in Q1 2024,” the official stated in a post accompanying a video clip on the strategic venture.
Early last year, a consortium of investors led by Rakiza set up Khazaen Fruit and Vegetable Central Market SAOC, a special purpose vehicle to finance and establish a new wholesale fruit and vegetables hub at Khazaen.
It follows a decision by authorities to relocate the hub from its existing location at Al Mawaleh in Muscat Governorate to greenfield, custom-designed settings in Khazaen suitably integrated with support infrastructure while also leveraging the Economic City’s multimodal connectivity with seaports, airports and neighbouring markets.
Khazaen Fruit and Vegetable Central Market SAOC groups public and private sector shareholders, comprising Oman Infrastructure Fund (Rakiza), Salim & Partners LLC, Al Kalbani Group and Khazaen Development and Investment Company.
According to Al Khatib of Rakiza, the new Khazaen Fruit and Vegetable Central Market will also feature a large trucking car park, cold storage, warehousing, customs and agriculture lab testing facilities alongside a purpose-built 500,000 sq metre complex.
When operational, it will have a large footprint, covering more than half the population, he noted in the post.
Significantly, the Fruit and Vegetable Central Market anchors a full-fledged Food City under development at Khazaen. Covering an area of over 1 million square metres, the Food City will also host a food industries zone earmarked for food packaging and distribution related activities, and a food processing cluster for value-adding investments. Total investments in the Food City, billed as potentially the biggest integrated food hub of its kind in Oman, are projected at over RO 40 million.
As an anchor tenant of the Food City, the Khazaen Fruit and Vegetables Central Market will also support the government’s food security strategy. It will provide integrated logistical solutions for cold and dry storage of various vegetables and fruit products, and modern advanced facilities that serve the associated logistical activities, including storage, packaging, handling, and transportation. It will improve cold chains and supply and greatly help in attracting local and international investors in the vegetable, fruit, and food sector, and also serve as an international centre for the export and import of other foodstuff.