SOHAR Port and Freezone joined exhibitors at Gulfood 2016 in Dubai to engage with potential international investors looking to play a part in Oman’s plans to expand its food-processing sector. The new Food Zone from SOHAR, offers an agro-terminal in one of the region’s best-connected Ports, with world-class infrastructure and connectivity right across the Arabian Peninsula.
The new Food Zone will feature grain storage facilities with plans in place for Oman’s first sugar refinery, which will largely eliminate the Sultanate’s current need to import over 120,000 tons of refined sugar a year. The new Food Zone will also play a major part in Oman’s plans to expand its food-processing sector.
SOHAR CEO Andre Toet, speaking at Gulfood, said: “The combination SOHAR will soon be able to offer of available foodstuffs, abundant feedstock for packaging, and world-class logistics is a big draw for international food companies looking for the perfect regional base in the Middle East. This combined with recent developments in road, air, sea and, soon, rail infrastructure, will undoubtedly spur interest in SOHAR as a prime destination for further agro-industrial investments.”
Last year, The Sohar Food Cluster Company (SFCC) signed a lease agreement for a ten-hectare plot located next to the new container terminal. Through SFCC, the UAE’s Essa Al Ghurair Investment will create the basic infrastructure to attract international investors as partners in joint ventures to launch various food-related industries at SOHAR. Other investments could look at opportunities in associated areas such as cold storage, warehousing and many other areas along the supply chain.
One such firm is an India-based agribusiness that has recently signed a joint venture agreement for the setting up of a rice and pulses storage, processing and packaging facility in SOHAR Food Zone. At an estimated cost of $39 million, the facility will feature a polishing, grading, blending and packaging unit for 100,000 tons per annum (TPA) of premium long grain rice and a state-of-the-art milling unit for 100,000 TPA of pulses. The project is expected to commence operations by 2017.