Stress on sustainability: High-tech animal feed mill and composting plant among RO 92m investments to support circular economy around Sultanate’s flagship date palm project
Investments in an animal feed mill and an organic composting plant are among several initiatives planned by majority government-owned Nakheel Oman Development Company to optimise value creation from the Million Date Palms Project of the Diwan of Royal Court.
The ancillary investments are part of a circular economy business model around which the Million Date Palms Project is being implemented in the Sultanate.
Total investments envisaged in the entire value chain, which includes an industrial-scale processing hub in Nizwa, is estimated at RO 92 million.
Over the past year, Nakheel Oman — a 50:50 joint venture between the Diwan of Royal Court and Oman National Investments Development Company SAOC (Tanmia) – has been processing, packaging and marketing the initial harvests of dates from the 11 sprawling farms that together constitute the Million Date Palms Project.
This output has been marketed primarily under three labels: Tamrah (fine Omani dates and sweets), Nizwa (high quality table dates), and Zaad (dates for the wholesale market).
Recently, Nakheel Oman celebrated its first export shipment of Zaad dates to India.
While value creation from the fruit harvests will be optimised through processing and product innovation, Nakheel Oman is also focused on commercialising waste byproducts from the processing stage, as well as green waste from the farms, to drive sustainability across the project.
One such initiative planned in this regard is an Animal Feed Mill Facility designed to produce pelleted animal feed in the form of long-fibre pellets, concentrate feed and complete feed derived from a blend of agriculture waste and high-protein inferior dates.
The pellet feed will serve as an environment-friendly, cost-competitive and nutritious alternative to water-intensive fodder grass currently being cultivated in several parts of the Sultanate.
According to Nakheel Oman, the animal feed mill will be constructed at Barka in South Al Batinah Governorate.
Due for completion in the second quarter of 2022, the plant will be equipped to produce 48,000 metric tonnes of various types of animal feed per annum.
Also on the anvil is a composting plant designed and equipped to produce 100,000 metric tonnes per annum of high quality organic compost and high-end fertiliser utilising a mixture of date palm waste, general green waste and animal manure.
The compost will be used for the farms of the Million Date Palms Plantation Project, as well as domestic and export markets.
Meanwhile, contractors are bidding for a tender to build the civil facilities for a state-of-the-art industrial complex at Nizwa that will serve as the main processing and storage hub for all the date fruits harvested from the network of 11 farms.
Plant processing capacity is estimated at 30,000 tonnes per annum, making it one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world.