(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) In an important development for the sultanate's aquaculture sector, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MoAF) has set up the Oman Aquaculture Development Company (OADC) which will look into bringing in new investments.
Last week, MoAF signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Oman Investment Fund (OIF) for the operations of OADC. The MoU was signed from the ministry's side by H E Dr Fuad bin Jaafar bin Mohammed al Sajwani, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, while OIF was represented by Hassan bin Ahmed al Nabhani, its CEO.
MoAF hopes that the aquaculture sector will be able to support 220,000 tonnes of fish production by 2030 from the current 206,000 tonnes (2013).
H E Dr Sajwani said the MoU is important as it aims to start a RO30mn fish farming project as an initial investment. ''It will be for production of shrimps, some marine algae and hatcheries.''
He added that the project is part of the ministry's long-term goal to expand aquaculture that is envisaged to take the contribution of the fishing sector to two per cent of the GDP by 2020.
Nabhani said that the MoU represents a joint cooperation between OIF and the ministry in fish farming. Under the MoU, the company will invest in strategic projects that are commercially profitable and that lead to developing the aquaculture sector in the sultanate. ''The company will also invest in development of support industries for the aquaculture sector in a bid to diversify investments.''
OADC will play a fundamental role in promoting investor confidence by investing in commercially feasible projects and managing them successfully. ''OADC will also seek to start joint ventures with foreign companies to help build the confidence of foreign investors in the local aquaculture market and make the most of foreign expertise in the field,'' said Nabhani.
The ministry is currently processing applications for 19 projects with investments worth RO145mn. The ministry is cooperating with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Bank to help develop the sector