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    Major community-backed seafood cannery planned in Duqm

    The Wusta Governorate’s thriving fishing community has given its backing to a proposal for the establishment of a major seafood processing and canning project at the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Duqm. The proposed initiative, described as the first of its kind to involve large numbers of Omani fishermen as stakeholders, envisions a 300 million cans per annum capacity plant centring on the processing and canning of tuna and sardine.

    Major community-backed seafood cannery planned in Duqm
    It is one of a large portfolio of economic initiatives that are being progressed through to implementation by the Implementation Support & Follow-up Unit (ISFU) of the Diwan of Royal Court to help advance Oman’s economic diversification.

    Stakeholders in the ambitious venture include the SEZ Authority of Duqm (SEZAD), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Ministry of Manpower and Al Wusta for Fisheries LLC. Also set to play a key part are potentially hundreds of fishermen from all along the Wusta coast, who will provide part — if not all — of the fresh feedstock necessary to meet the plant’s raw material needs.

    Importantly, the proposed seafood processing and canning plant will seek to harness the prodigious fisheries potential of the Wusta coast’s inshore waters, according to a report by ISFU. “This initiative proposes to process locally available fish into high-value products. The plans is to produce different types of processed fish with prominent Omani branding. Such products include canned sardines and canned tuna, fish powder and fish oil,” the report said.

    The SEZ at Duqm has been selected to host the proposed facility in view of the availability of land coupled with the zone’s modern transportation and logistics infrastructure. “Preliminary approval has been obtained to operate this project after several agreements were arrived at with the fishermen from Wusta Governorate to supply fish for the plant. This plant aims to produce 300 million cans per year,” ISFU stated in its report.

    The proposal is currently the subject of a feasibility study, upon the completion of which, potential stakeholders and investors will be identified. Thereafter, the project team plans to seek various initial approvals before a Final Investment Decision is made ahead of the formation of the project company.

    It is anticipated that the project will come up within the Fisheries Industrial Complex at the Duqm SEZ, which is proposed to come up alongside a major fishery port currently under construction in Duqm. Well-known Omani construction firm Galfar Engineering & Contracting is executing the harbour project valued at around RO 60 million.

    The adjacent fisheries hub will be designed to attract investments in processing plants, cold stores, training centres, and quality testing laboratories. As many as 60 processing plants can be housed within the hub in the initial phases of its development.

    Conrad Prabhu - Oman Observer

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