Said Al Farsi is the owner of the Al Balad dairy factory, which was established in 2014. Today, Al Balad products are sold in most famous shopping centres in Oman, such as Carrefour, Lulu, Mars and others, after making their humble start in the Al Farsi kitchen.
“In 2014, I began experimenting at home, making my own yoghurt depending on the traditional ways and methods used by my grandparents. All I bought was a fridge to keep the products at a certain temperature that was not available in the ordinary refrigerator I owned before. I was introducing the products to my friends and people with experience so that they could give me their opinions,” Al Farsi said.
He added, “Months later, I took more serious steps and got the permits and completed the formal procedures. I started the factory in a modest place with a small amount of money, mainly because I did not want to risk it, especially because the dairy industry is sensitive, risky and to compete with the other famous companies that people already trust in the field is not easy.”
Before opening his factory, Al Farsi went to work for a while at the dairy factory in Sultan Qaboos University in order to gain more experience.
Al Farsi said, “In the beginning, we were only producing half a tonne of products every three days, today the factory produces one ton of dairy a day and we are hoping to raise that to four tonnes in the following months.”
From 2015 to 2016, the Al Balad factory’s products started to be seen in the largest stores and markets in the Sultanate. “Our products were only distributed in hotels and some small shops, before reaching larger stores, such as Carrefour and the Lulu Hypermarket.”
Al Farsi further said, “I think what distinguishes us from others is the fact that we try to make our products as healthy as possible and reduce the proportion of salts and acids in them. Our most famous products are the Labnah and feta cheese because of their distinctive taste, and they are low in salt and acidity. We call them the Omani Labnah and the Omani feta.”
Before starting his business, Al Farsi was out of the country for a long time studying food science and running his own project, which was a nutrition store. Later, he decided to return to Oman and start another project.
“At first, I didn’t have a clue about what kind of project I should run, but once when I was going to buy yoghurt for my children, it caught my attention that there weren’t many Omani products on the dairy products shelf, and there came the idea. Especially since the dairy industry was within my field of study.”
“I am grateful to all the people and institutions that have been by my side and helped in the success of the factory, such as the College of Agricultural and Marine Science at Sultan Qaboos University and Raffd,” Al Farsi said.
“My advice for young people, who would like to start their own businesses, is to be patient, have faith in what they are doing and stay original.”