Citing the First Follow Up and Evaluation Report for 2019 released by the country’s Supreme Council of Planning, local media Times of Oman reported that the project “is 80% complete, and its spending is 93% complete.”
Mazoon Dairy is part of Oman Food Investment Holding Co (OFIC) – a state-owned enterprise mandated to promote Oman’s national food security.
It is expected to produce about 202m litres of milk in 2026 and 985m litres in 2040.
Other notable Omani dairy players include A’safwah Dairy. Together, an increase in production in these companies is expected to help reduce the country’s dependency on imports from 69% in 2014 to 13% in 2026.
On the other hand, information from the OFIC’s website showed that Mazoon Dairy was supposed to have started commercial production two years ago.
This delay in operation was also acknowledged by the council, which revealed in the report that production would start next month.
To support operation, the firm earlier said that it would import 8,250 cows from overseas by next year.
The first batch of cows numbered at 1,600 arrived from Australia in February this year.
Besides beefing up dairy production, the firm will also provide employment opportunities.
“The project opens wide opportunities in the employment market for Oman. The Project is expected to reach around 90% Omanisation in 10 years. It would employ approximately 2300 staff in Year 10 and will also provide indirect employment through forward and backward linkage effects of the project,” according to OFIC.
Mazoon Dairy had in fact started to distribute its products during the festive Ramadan period.
The firm said on its official Facebook page that it has been giving away its Mazoon Up fresh laban (fermented milk) in places such as Al Amerat, Al Mabelah, and AlSeeb.
It added that its full range of fresh dairy, juices and other products would be available in the market during the summer period.
Food security in Middle East
The Middle Eastern states have been placing food security as one of their priorities, notably in the UAE and Qatar.
In April this year, Qatar’s largest dairy manufacturer, Baladna, has started to sell fruit juice to reduce the country's reliance on imports.
The UAE also launched the National Food Security Strategy last year, which will see the use of modern technologies to drive sustainable local food production. Some examples include building 12 vertical farms in Dubai and developing international partnerships to diversify food sources.