Muscat: An OMR28 million Oman Dates Production and Packing Company was inaugurated on Tuesday at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
It will buy dates products from farmers, re-package, process, pack and sell them in local markets or export.
The ceremony was sponsored by Dr. Fuad bin Jaafar Al Sagwani, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, who said that the palm tree is important in the Omani social heritage, and the Omani man has been associated with the palm tree since ancient times, as well as the economic importance of the palm tree, adding that it is the first crop among fruits with more than 8 million date palm trees in the Sultanate.
He said that this project is the first-of-its-kind and there are other projects coming to exploit the date palm tree components, including a project for the production of timber, fertilisers, feed and manufacturing industries, such as vinegar, pulses and date juice, as the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has completed the feasibility study, indicating that the Ministry hopes to get investors to invest these opportunities and benefits of these palms. He added that it is hoped that the GDP of the agricultural and fisheries sectors in 2023 will reach 3%.
For his part, Dr. Rashid bin Salim Al Masroori, CEO of the Public Authority for Stores and Food Reserves and Chairman of Oman Food Investment Holding Company said that the idea of the project is to buy date products from farmers and citizens, process, pack and sell them in the local markets or export them, indicating that the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2019.
He said that the board of directors of the new company will determine the quantities of the starting production of the new company according to the available potentials, where the focus will be on dates of high quality.
Mohammed bin Sulaiman Al Kindi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nakheel Investment Company, a member of the founding committee of the project said that the project aims to support farmers to purchase their products through the collection centers that will be determined by the company and re-packaging and marketing them.
Oman Food Investment Holding Company contributes 75% of the shares of Oman Dates Production and Packaging Company while Al Qanawat International Company contributes 20% and Nakheel Investment Company 5%.