The initiative is a key part of a new Integrated Fruits & Vegetables Marketing Company (IFVMCo), whose development is being spearheaded by Oman Food Investment Holding Company SAOC (OFIC), the food sector development arm of the Omani government.
The Integrated Fruits & Vegetables Marketing Company plans to invest in a network of collection points, temperature-controlled storage and transport and logistics infrastructure aimed at helping local farmers earn competitive returns on their fresh produce.
Besides serving as a marketing agency for fruits and vegetables, the company will also invest in modern farms for the cultivation of high-value produce for local and export markets.
Also envisioned as part of its remit is a Trading Unit that will secure, on the one hand, overseas markets for Omani farm produce, and on the other, facilitate imports of fruits and vegetables for the domestic market.
According to a feasibility study compiled by local consultancy firm Hail Agriculture on behalf of Oman Food Investment Holding Company, the proposed Trading Unit will network with local importers, distributors, suppliers, including farmers, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and farming collectives. Part of its remit is to enter into contractual arrangements with local farmers for the cultivation of high value fruits and vegetables of specific varieties and in pre-agreed quantities at certain times of the year.
Besides procuring fruits and vegetables from local producers and suppliers for distribution and marketing further afield within Oman, the Trading Unit will actively study opportunities for exports. In particular, it will seek to establish a presence at central markets in key governorates in the country, as well as regional markets, notably Dubai and Doha.
Additionally, fresh produce from Pilot Production Farms (PPFs) planned for development by the parent Integrated Fruits & Vegetables Marketing Company (IFVMCo) are proposed to be marketed through the Trading Unit. The pilot farms are essentially modern greenhouses employing soilless production systems (hydroponics) to cultivate tomato, cherry tomato, green pepper, colour pepper, and melon, among other fruits and vegetables. As many as 16 such production farms are planned as part of IFVMCo’s investments.
As part of its mandate, the Trading Unit will also serve as resource for information on market trends across the agribusiness industry.
This expertise will encompass demand trends, quality grades, packaging styles, seasonal timeframes and other market information governing every type of fruit and vegetable of relevance to the local and export markets. It will share this information and expertise with the Collection & Processing Centres (CPC) and Pilot Production Farms (PPF) operated by the integrated company.
Source Link: www.omanobserver.om