Speaking to Muscat Daily on the sidelines of Mazoon Dairy’s brand identity launch ceremony recently, Eng Saleh al Shanfari, CEO of Oman Food Investment Holding Co (OFIC) said, “We are planing to introduce fresh milk and other milk-based products along with some packed juices during Ramadan this year.” OFIC, which has been mandated by the government to promote food security in the sultanate, is a promoter of Mazoon Dairy.
Shanfari said Mazoon Dairy will be roping in retailers to promote their products in the country.
Mazoon Dairy had announced the plans to begin dairy production in the second quarter of this year with the objective to produce over 200mn liters of milk annually by 2026 and to increase capacity to 900mn liters by 2040. The company has already received 3,400 Australian cows in two shipments delivered in January and February this year.
“Our herd’s size is growing and we expect total number of milking animals to reach 5,000 by the end of this year. We have a plan to increase the number of cows to 25,000 in near future, and in the ten years from now to become self sufficient,” Shanfari said.
On challenges he said, ‘Being big in size is a challenge in itself. Total investments in the project is over RO100mn. An investment of this kind has not been seen in the sultanate (in dairy sector). The funding for such a project from banks has been a challenge. But we were able to convince bankers as well as investors for this project.”
Shanfari explained that the site in Buraimi for the project was selected based on scientific parameters including weather and availability of water. “We have done water modelling, which allowed to be sure about the availability of ground water in the long run. Another important reason was logistics. The project is not far from the capital, it is not far from the port also and is very near to the UAE border, which could be a potential destination for exports in the future.”
Mazoon Dairy has also signed an agreement with Indian dairy giant Amul for providing training to local youth in the sector so that they can be employed in the project.