Strong growth: Part of Oman Investment Authority, OFIC currently boasts a portfolio of 23 companies and food-related assets with investments totalling around $1.5 billion
Oman Food Investment Holding Company (OFIC), the government’s food sector development arm, has ambitions to evolve into a prominent player in the global food industry with investments spanning the entire food value chain.
The state-owned enterprise, which was recently absorbed into Oman Investment Authority (OIA), the Sultanate’s integrated sovereign wealth fund, already boasts a portfolio of 23 companies and food related-assets with investments totalling around $1.5 billion, according to a top executive of OFIC.
Eng Saleh bin Mohammed al Shanfari, CEO, outlined a 20-year strategy that positions OFIC for robust growth over the 2020-2040 timeframe.
Taking part in an online forum organised recently by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, he said the strategy envisions OFIC growing into a “significant player” in the region by 2027. By 2031, the group is projected to burgeon into a “leading player” in the Middle East with a portfolio of assets across the world serving Oman and the GCC markets. 2040 will see OFIC becoming a “prominent player” globally, he noted.
OFIC has come a long way since it was established barely seven years ago, evolving into a well-diversified group with investments in, among other areas, dairy processing, poultry farming, meat production, oil seeds crushing, dates processing and packaging, veterinary medicine production and fish processing.
Over the 2020-2021 timeframe, the group has plans to add food logistics, fruits and vegetable marketing, food-related R&D, commercial trading and coconut processing to its expanding portfolio, he said.
“Our objective is to invest across the food value chain and to participate in commercially viable projects here and outside the Sultanate,” said Eng Al Shanfari.
“We are looking to develop partnerships with private and public stakeholders, promote the adoption of responsible agricultural practices, focus on agri-food projects that cover cities, urban and rural areas, and contribute to food quality standards that make Omani standards highly competitive internationally. We are also looking to leverage Oman’s competitive geographical location to develop food products for export to rest of the world.”
Notable investments by OFIC include the $250 million integrated dairy processing project of Mazoon Dairy, the $250 million A’Namaa poultry project in Ibri, the $120 million Al Bashayer meat processing project, $58 million Murooj Dairy plant, Oman Oil Seeds Crushing, Oman Dates Production and Marketing, International Sea Foods, and National Veterinary Vaccines Company. The government’s stakes in a number of food-related companies have also been transferred to OFIC.
“We also want to become the halal hub for the region,” said the CEO. In this regard, he invited international stakeholders to join hands with OFIC in securing and strengthening their supplies of halal foods.
“We are open to partnerships and would like to pursue opportunities in R&D and smart agriculture systems that will allow both countries to reap the possibilities,” he added.