YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT

Oman 2018 | AGRICULTURE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Ahmed Akaak, Chairman of the Oman National Livestock Development Company (ONLDC), on partnerships to boost the quality of animal feeds, the agriculture industry, and the Sultanate's national economy.

Ahmed Akaak
BIOGRAPHY
Ahmed Akaak is currently the Chairman of the ONLDC and the Deputy CEO at the Port of Salalah. Akaak has been with the port since January 2000, where he has worked in several key positions including Chief Corporate Officer and General Manager for Human Resources. He brings to the board industry knowledge and executive experience in all aspects of management, including strategic planning and organizational development, both locally and nationally.

What role does ONLDC play in delivering Oman Food Investment Company's (OFIC) food security strategy?

We are very proud of being part of OFIC, which is working hard toward its vision of improving food security in Oman. ONLDC has a reputation for producing the best animal feed in Oman. In May 2005, ONLDC inaugurated its modern feed mill and roughage plant at Raysut, Salalah with the capacity of 144,000 tons per year. Oman took significant steps to realize food security through enhancing domestic agricultural production, which helped the increase in the self-sufficiency rate in some products such as milk and table eggs. However, the self-sufficiency rate is still low in some other products like red meat and poultry. This is essential to meet the growing demand of food, in terms of both quantity and quality, coming from this country as well as the world as a whole. Our company's approach to the food security question relies heavily on developing domestic natural resources' potential to maximize national capacity for food production. In achieving food security, we are the part of chain in which our goal is to provide the animal feed with the best quality to the livestock in Oman, which will lead to a more stable food retail market and enhance food security in the Sultanate of Oman. We, as a leading Omani animal feed producer, are committed to making the best feeds with the finest raw materials as our contribution to the development in the livestock industry of Oman.

What impact is your ONLDC feed mill and roughage plant having on the Omani agriculture sector and the economy in general?

The government's economic development policy emphasizes the expansion of non-oil sectors such as agriculture, livestock, and fishing in its bid to diversify the economy and diminish its dependence on oil exports. Omani agriculture sector is growing rapidly, especially after the His Majesty's directives to establish the Food Security Committee. There has been sharp focus on minimizing the dependency on the import of food items from abroad. The livestock sector has been growing by leaps and bounds in Oman, and the requirement of animal feed has also increased the same way. Farmers are more aware of the retail value of their livestock and want to give the best to their animal in order to get high return on investments. We play the role of getting the livestock production ready by providing the highest quality animal feeds so that farmers can get the benefit when selling their livestock. This, in turn, gives the economic boost to the farmers and their vision of expansion in the agriculture sector, which boosts the economy and improves food security in Sultanate of Oman. In the near future, we also have plans to enhance our capabilities of producing higher amount of animal feed. We will also be expanding our product range by investing in R&D for innovative ideas and best international practices.

How has your partnership with Amandus Kahl impacted ONLDC's product development and production processes?

ONLDC chose Amandus Kahl as the main feed mill machinery supplier because it is a leading global manufacturer of feed mill plants. Together with this, Kahl is a main supplier of equipment, including special flat die pellet mills designed for difficult-to-process materials, like those needed for roughage feeds. In association with Kahl, ONLDC has been able to produce top quality international standard compound feeds for animals in the main feed mill plant and has done several trials in utilizing locally available raw materials to process roughage feeds in the roughage plant. In 2017, with increasing demand for poultry feeds, an additional poultry feed production facility is being constructed in parallel with the roughage unit.