Oman Opens 12-Grain Silos
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Oman Wheat | On 5 December, the Sohar Flour Mills (SFM) opened 12-Grain silos with a total capacity of 160,000 tons at Sohar Port, an essential deep-sea port lying at the center of global trade routes between Europe and Asia. The silos were built to make Oman better prepared to tackle food shortages and enhance food security.
“The Grain silos constitute a qualitative addition to the food security system in the sultanate,” said Haitham al Saadi, chairman of SFM. Spread over 90,000 sqm, they are one of the significant investment projects of the company. Established in 2017, Sohar Flour Mills is the outcome of a partnership between Atyab Investment, wholly owned by Oman Flour Mills Company (OFMC), and Essa Al Ghurair Investment.
The importance of this national project grows following the geopolitical conditions in the world, which affected the supply chains in general and the Grain supplies in particular. Accordingly, this project contributes to securing the strategic stock of Grains in Oman. In an interview with Oman TV, Ibrahim al Amri, COO of Oman Flour Mills Company, said the opening of the RO21mn silos project in Sohar aims to support the infrastructure in the field of agricultural resources output in the sultanate.
The silos, with a total capacity of 160,000 tons, are considered one of the strategic national projects. It will help increase the storage capacity of the food Grains to ensure that there are sufficient quantities to cover the consumption in the sultanate for more extended periods.
According to Amri, the project stems from the responsibility assumed by the OFMC in enhancing food security and securing a strategic stock of Grains. “The project aims to secure Oman’s Grain reserves, facilitate import and support local fodder production. It also aims to support Oman in exporting some types of flour and encourage the national industry in the production of animal feed. It will also create job opportunities for citizens.
Amri added that 85 percent of these silos had been leased so far. The project is developed so that, if needed, the storage capacity can be increased in the future. With this project completed, Sohar is expected to become “a strategic and global center for storing Grains and attracting investments from abroad.”
Oman started increasing food Grain production in the last couple of years. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources, it produced 2,649 tons of Wheat in 2020-21, a 19.6 percent increase compared to 2019-20. According to AgFlow data, Oman imported 0.3 million tons of Wheat from Russia in 2022, followed by Ukraine (0.1 million tons), Australia (0.09 million tons), and Argentina (27,200 tons).
Oman’s Ambition to Increase Wheat Land
The total farmland used for Wheat plantation was 2,449 acres, and the number of farmers increased by 5.5 percent to reach 3,067 in 2020-21. The Ministry has introduced modern irrigation systems such as sprinklers, due to which significant progress has been made in the expansion of crop cultivation and increase in its productivity. The sultanate is also working continuously through studies and research to increase the area of its arable land, which constitutes only seven percent of the country’s total area currently.
Oman Flour Mills Company says it is exploring a proposal to acquire farmland in Australia as part of its strategy to secure its Wheat requirements over the long term. According to Salah Hilal al Maawali, Chairman of the publicly listed company’s board of directors, the initiative is keenly explored by Atyab Investments, the investment arm of Oman Flour Mills (OFM).
Other sources: MUSCATDAILY
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