The projects have been conceptualised — with a sizeable number already in various stages of implementation as well — by the Committee for Agricultural and Fisheries Investment (Tamkeen), a high-powered task force set up by the ministry to drive investment in the agri-farm-fish sector in support of the nation’s broader economic diversification and food security objectives.
Currently in hand for implementation are around 160 projects, which include 32 agriculture and livestock related initiatives entailing a total investment of $1.125 billion, 35 fisheries related ventures involving an investment of $800 million, and 92 integrated agriculture and fisheries schemes valued at $135 million.
Oman Food Investment Holding Company (OFIC), the government’s food sector investment vehicle, is spearheading the implementation of six of the largest initiatives entailing a capital investment of nearly $900 million.
Tamkeen was established by the ministry in 2016 to identify investment opportunities in the agricultural, livestock and fisheries sectors for ultimate development with the support of the private sector. Tamkeen’s underlying goal, according to the ministry, is to enable a key role for the private sector in food production, boosting self-sufficiency in the food sector, strengthening food security, enhancing economic diversification, and achieving sustainable development of this key economic industry.
Represented on the Tamkeen committee, which is headed by the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, are the under-secretaries of the ministry, as well as high-level executives of private and public sector corporations engage in agricultural, livestock and fisheries related activities. Over the ensuing three years since it was set up, the panel has deliberated on investment opportunities, bureaucratic impediments, regulatory hurdles and other shortcomings that have threatened to impede the sector’s growth.
Since the formal unveiling of the 160 projects at a key forum held in Muscat earlier this year, a sizeable number of these initiatives are making headway in their development. The ministry has reported heartening investment interest from the private sector in many of these projects. While those backed by OFIC and other prominent investment funds and business houses are expected to materialise in the next 3-5 years, other initiatives are currently the subject of detailed feasibility and financing studies before they are taken in hand for implementation, say officials.
For its part, the Omani government — represented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries — is pitching in with land, and in many cases, water resources as well, to encourage private Omani investors to weigh up opportunities in this key sector.
Given the sector’s strategic national importance, notably from the food security and employment creation standpoints, the ministry is also pledging resources in the form of knowhow and expertise to help Omani entrepreneurs seriously consider opportunities in this promising industry.
Source Link: www.omanobserver.om