Interview: Fuad bin Jaafar bin Mohammed Al Sajwani
How can food import dependence be reduced as Oman works towards its ninth five-year plan goals?
FUAD BIN JAAFAR BIN MOHAMMED AL SAJWANI: Oman is highly self-sufficient in fish. In 2014 our self-sufficiency in fish peaked at 216%, and in 2016 it remained high at 176%. Moreover, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Wealth (MAFW) is planning to increase production from wild fisheries and aquaculture, from 280,000 tonnes in 2016 to 480,000 by 2020 and more than 700,000 by 2025.
To achieve our production goals, the MAFW plans to improve coordination with the private sector to both build new fishing ports and upgrade existing ones. There are 22 existing fishing ports, with others under construction and in the design phase. These ports will provide important infrastructure for both local and international fishing fleets to land and process fish, and provide services to other supportive industries. The MAFW is also developing aquaculture and an industrial fishing fleet in the Indian Ocean.
What role will commercial fishing and aquaculture play in meeting the ninth five-year plan goals?
AL SAJWANI: In 2017 the MAFW initiated a programme to develop an industrial fishing fleet, which investors have been invited to participate in. The overall goal has been to upgrade the current traditional, artisanal fishing fleet that operates on Oman’s coastal areas to an industrial fleet focused on exploiting fish resources in the Omani Exclusive Economic Zone and beyond. Currently, there are 22,720 traditional boats, 700 artisanal fishing vessels, and 134 coastal fishing vessels.
To ensure a sustainable harvest of fish, the MAFW is developing bylaws and guidelines for the operation of the industrial fishing fleet, which will permit large industrial fishing vessels to utilise the pelagic resources in the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.
Aquaculture will also play an important role in this regard, and the strategy aims to produce 200,000 tonnes by 2030. The first fin fish cage farm was commissioned in July 2017 in the Quriyat coastal area to produce 3000 tonnes of high-quality sea bream. Two other farms with a total production capacity of 6000 tonnes of sea bream will be launched by the end of 2017. Preparation efforts to open two shrimp farms, as well as two abalone farms in the south, are ongoing.
What is the state of downstream processing and value addition in the fishing industry?
AL SAJWANI: The fish processing industry grows in line with fish production in order to cope with additional quantities of fish landed. There are 52 processing and packaging facilities, 26 of which are factories with quality control certification, which means they can export to the EU. There is one canning factory for tuna and sardines, and there are many applications from private players who wish to invest in similar facilities. There are 66 facilities for salting and drying, and four factories for fish meal and fish oil production. The MAFW is currently preparing a bylaw to regulate this important industry.
For value-added products, there is currently one factory, but the MAFW encourages investors to target this industry, as it can yield high economic returns. There are also about 400 fish outlets and shops in different regions to distribute fresh and frozen fish.
How are farmers and the MAFW dealing with depleting groundwater and increasing salinity?
AL SAJWANI: The MAFW is conducting several studies on the effects of high salinity on farms along the Al Batinah coast. These studies have many goals, including finding alternative agriculture crops that are resistant to high salinity. In terms of fisheries, the MAFW is developing the integrated aquaculture sector, where farmers can use fish in their farms to better utilise limited underground water resources. The farmers will use this water to harvest both fish and plants. The production from integrated aquaculture is expected to increase from 3 tonnes in 2014 to 30 tonnes in 2016.
Read More from OBG
Talal Al Awfi, Group CEO of OQ, and the OQ Leadership Team
In this Global Platform video, Talal Al Awfi and the OQ Leadership Team discuss Oman’s net-zero goals and outline the country’s potential to boost power generation from renewable resources, including wind, solar and hydrogen. Core strategies are presented to emphasise how boosting clean energy usage aligns with the outcomes of Oman Vision 2040, the country’s long-term economic development framework.…
Exploring Thailand's Tobacco Industry: A Comprehensive Economic Report
This Economic Impact Report presents a comprehensive analysis of Thailand's tobacco industry, shedding light on its wide-reaching value chain and contribution to the national economy. Notably, the industry directly or indirectly supports some 50,000 households, and contributed BT59.8bn to government revenue in 2022 through excise taxes, equivalent to some 12% of the country’s total excise revenue. The report explores the potential implications of a proposed full ban on tobacco additive…
Underpinning growth: Eyad Reda, Managing Partner, Eyad Reda Law Firm, on enhancing the Kingdom’s legal framework, the path to prosperity and the making of a new era
Viewpoint: Eyad Reda “My first goal is for our country to be a successful and pioneering model in the world at all levels, and I will work with you to achieve that.” This statement by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud sets the foundation for the advancement of the Kingdom, within which the legal framework is an integral part. Indeed, the legal framework is linked with every other aspect of progress as it forms the foundation of development. In this sense, growth can take various forms…
“High-Level Discussions are Under Way to Identify How We Can Restructure Funding For Health Care Services”
Popular Sectors in Oman
Popular Countries in Agriculture
- Cote d'Ivoire Agriculture
- Indonesia Agriculture
- Malaysia Agriculture
- Myanmar Agriculture
- The Philippines Agriculture
Recent Reports in Oman