Oman moots Tan­za­nia farm­ing bid

East African Business Week - - NEWS -

MUS­CAT, OMAN-- Oman plans to set up farms in Su­dan and Tan­za­nia in or­der to re­duce its de­pen­dence on food im­ports.

“We are also go­ing to do ex­ter­nal in­vest­ments in Tan­za­nia and Su­dan,” said Mustafa Al Riyami, co­or­di­na­tion and fol­low-up spe­cial­ist at the Pub­lic Au­thor­ity for Stores and Food Re­serve.

“We will have wheat farms and an­i­mal farms. This is the plan for the fu­ture in or­der to have food se­cu­rity,” he was ad­dress­ing a news con­fer­ence.

“The out­put for these farms will not be the same as in re­cent years,” he added. “It will take time for sure, but it is a strate­gic plan we have in place. It will take at least 15 to 20 years to start pro­duc­ing from these farms.”

“We are not ex­pect­ing to in­crease our in­come from these farms very soon,” Al Riyami con­tin­ued. “The sec­ond thing is that we might in­vest these crops out­side as well. We might sell these to some other coun­tries and we may make money from that.”

“The in­vest­ment will be from both sides: ei­ther to get our own com­modi­ties or to in­vest this out­side and get money from it.”

In­vest­ing in Africa will see Oman fol­low a devel­op­ment path taken by China, which has steadily built up mas­sive busi­nesses over­seas. The Chi­nese have in­vested more than $1.3 tril­lion over­seas since 2005. Oman’s plans to be­come more se­cure on the agri­cul­tural front are part of the na­tion’s plans to raise agri­cul­tural con­tri­bu­tion to 3.1 per cent of the GDP by 2020. It is cur­rently pegged at 0.7 per cent, to­talling OMR224 mil­lion. As part of Oman’s Vi­sion 2020 plan, an or­gan­i­sa­tion has been set up to in­vest in food se­cu­rity.

“There is a semi-gov­ern­ment com­pany, the Oman Food In­vest­ment Hold­ing Com­pany that acts as an in­vestor for Oman, both in­side and out­side the country,” Al Riyami told the Times of Oman.

“There are many projects it is work­ing on. One of these is to build a big farm in Bu­raimi to pro­duce milk and white meat. I am sure you have heard of the one mil­lion date trees project in Oman. It is one of the longterm projects de­signed to pro­mote food se­cu­rity in Oman.”

Cur­rently, about 60% of the Sul­tanate’s food prod­ucts are im­ported, but Al Riyami is hope­ful that the new wave of agri­cul­tural in­vest­ment will that bring fig­ure down sharply.

“We are im­port­ing about 60 per cent of our food right now, but if, and I say if, our tar­gets are met with this in­vest­ment, this im­port­ing will be very less,” he ex­plained. “Lo­cal pro­duc­tion will be about 80 per cent and im­ports will be about 20%.” Agen­cies

SUP­PLY CHAIN: The bulk of Omani food­stuffs are im­ported and the gov­ern­ment be­lieves in­vest­ing in Tan­za­nia and Su­dan could help en­sure food se­cu­rity

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