MEAT THE NEW OMAN

Oman 2018 | AGRICULTURE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Dr. Ghalib Said Al Saidi, General Manager of Al Bashayer Meat Company, on opportunities in the red meat market, plans for a new processing plant, and broader economic impacts.

Dr. Ghalib Said Al Saidi
BIOGRAPHY
Dr. Ghalib Said Al Saidi has diverse public and private experience that includes more than 14 years of managing multiple functions in different organizations. He joined the Ministry of Regional Municipality and Water Resource as a hygiene inspector and acting head of Health Affairs section. In 2010, he was promoted to Hygiene Expert in the undersecretary’s office at the ministry. By the end of 2010, he became the Director of Research and Market Studies and the Acting General Director of Information and Market Research at the Public Authority of Consumer Protection. Al Saidi then joined Al-Bashayer Meat Company, a national food security project as General Manager.

What is Al Bashayer's current strategy, and how does it align with the government's food security strategy?

In 2012 the government created the Oman Food Investment Holding Company (OFIC) with the goal of sustaining the country with regards to food security. OFIC focused on three main projects: first, it created Mazoon Dairy to handle the large amounts of dairy imports entering Oman. Second, OFIC set up A'Namaa Poultry. The third project, which focuses on red meat, is Al Bashayer. Al Bashayer Meat Company was established in 2016 with the same goal of providing food security throughout the Sultanate. Most of the meat entering Oman is imported, and we had to begin thinking about making the market sustainable and more self-sufficient. We plan to cater to 24% of the market's red meat needs in 10 years. There are many options with regards to red meat production including cattle, lamb, goat, and camel. When we studied the market, we saw growth mostly in cattle, followed by sheep and goats.

What does the project entail, and how will it impact the overall economy?

This project will help set a benchmark for food security in Oman; we will purchase animals from abroad and rear and fatten them locally. We will keep cattle, for example, in quarantine for 60 days to ensure the animals are healthy, at the right weight, and ready for consumption. For sheep and goats, we keep them in quarantine for 40 days. We want to ensure that, when these animals go to the market, people will accept the products. We need a highly traceable system whereby we can trace the animals to their origin, know how they were bred, and know that they have received the right vaccinations. This way we can assure consumers that the meat they are purchasing is top quality, halal, and healthy. This is extremely important in a country like Oman. We want to provide the market with meat that matches the best standards in all these categories; this is the only way consumers will trust the company, therefore making it profitable. As for the project itself, we seek to add value to other animal products. For example, we can place intestines and bones through a rendering plant to later sell these products; their skin can also be treated and sold. We also have manure, which can be sold. Then there is the issue of choosing the site of the project; we can set it up close to farms where manure is purchased from us, or even close to a port to easily transport animals. Choosing the location is also extremely important for the sustainability of the project itself. We seek to implement all these factors together in order to ensure this project is a success.

In terms of production, what is the expected target for the first year of production?

We expect to have 43,575 cattle, 216,000 sheep, and 97,450 goats in the first year of production. We have built our growth strategy around a safe model whereby we increase production by 3% each year. There is no other similar red meat company or project in the GCC. That is a challenge we face; we are pioneering integrated meat complexes like this. In 10 years, we expect to have 161,000 cattle, 764,000 sheep, and 353,000 goats. With regards to the process itself, the animals will first enter through a 9-sqkm area of land, before being moved into quarantine, followed by a holding area where they will be fattened and treated before being moved to the processing plant. At the processing plant, there are two lines: one for cattle and another for sheep and goats. From there, the final products go either to freezers or whole stock, and finally to dispatch. 2018 will be a fruitful year because of the foundations laid in 2017.