Muscat, 30 Sep (ONA) — Activities of the Food Security Laboratory, organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources, concluded at Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The event was held in cooperation with the Oman Vision 2040 Implementation Follow-up Unit and saw the participation of a wide spectrum of investors and representatives of government and private establishments, academics and experts in the sector.
Dr. Saud Hamoud Al Habsi, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources, said that the lab produced a number of initiatives and agreements that will bolster investment and provide a suitable environment in the field of food security.
He added that the Ministry will sign more agreements in this field in accordance with criteria it has devised for this purpose, including the volume of investment and employment opportunities.
The minister added that the investments made by the government and the private sector in the field of food security over the past period realized good proportions of success, with 150% production rise in the fisheries sector where more than 50 firms operate and export their products to different countries of the world. He added that, in the field of dates, the Sultanate achieved almost 100% self-sufficiency, while sufficiency in other products ranged between 50% and 60%.
The minister proceeded on saying that “The Food Security Laboratory carved out an investment framework for all food security sectors. This investment framework constitutes a point of reference (directory) for investment in plant, animal, fishery and water resources. The directory will index certain domains for each type of investment in these sectors, based on a set of approved data and internationally approved criteria.”
The lab also shaped an integrated set of investment opportunities in the food security sectors, targeting the segments of jobseekers and entrepreneurs. These opportunities will be undertaken by certain parties that will make them available to jobseekers and entrepreneurs who apply for them in accordance with a specific mechanism to be unveiled later. The parties include the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources, Oman Food Investment Holding Co., Fisheries Development Oman Co. and other partners and developers.
For the first time in the Sultanate there will be models for ‘tourist farming’ and ‘contractual farming’ and these models will open up visas for marking agricultural products of farmers and provide hospitality and entertainment services for tourists.
The lab specified 128 initiatives and projects (among them 37 in plant sector, 29 in the livestock sector, 28 in the fisheries sector, 8 in the water resources sector, along with 26 other enabling initiatives), with investments valued at RO 1.3 billion set to be carried out in the next five years. These investments are expected to realize food sufficiency and food security in the Sultanate.
On the sidelines of the lab’s concluding event, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources signed a number of agreements and contracts with a group of companies. One of these contracts was inked to implement a coconut tree cultivation project in Dhofar Governorate, another pact for for the banana commercial cultivation project in the Wilayat of Al Musanaa (South Al Batinah), a contract for pomegranate and olive farms leasing, an agreement for the development of Wadi Dhayqah Dam, a usufruct agreement for the development of a land plot dedicated to commercial aquaculture, an agreement for the setting up and operation of a container and truck inspection unit to monitor fisheries export and import activities, among other pacts.