OMAN'S FOOD SAFETY STRATEGY IN RELATION TO THE UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
Part of Oman's long-term strategy, namely the Oman 2040 Vision, is anchored on the UN SDG Agenda 2030. Where the SDG 2 is concerned, it has made progress in implementing its plans and programs that are focused on food safety and quality, security and sustainability of food supply for all.
Its efforts are directed towards “improving and updating relevant laws and executive regulations that organize agricultural development action and maintain the sustainability of agricultural production and food safety.
FOOD SAFETY REGULATIONS IN OMAN
Oman has stringent food safety laws and regulations that cover domestic businesses, import of food items, and certification, and follows the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) regulations that are based on World Trade Organization (WTO) standards. Despite these strict measures, there are still a sizeable number of violations, mostly for products of animal origin, i.e. meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products and honey.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the various municipalities within the sultanate are jointly responsible for the regulatory enforcement of food products. The Health Quarantine Department of MOH is tasked to inspect imported processed food products, including sugar. The civic bodies are involved in the regulation of food through the inspection of products available in the local market.
The Food Safety and Quality Centre represents the Ministry in implementing its programs, plans and control systems related to the safety of the quality and suitability of food products as well as raising the level of food safety awareness to each player in the food supply chain.
THE OMAN FOOD INVESTMENT HOLDING CO. (OFIHC) A GOVERNMENT-OWNED ENTITY MANDATED TO BOOST THE COUNTRY’S FOOD SECURITY, IS WORKING ON A NUMBER OF PROJECTS.
- A'Namaa Project in Ibri, which will also boost meat production capacity by 60,000 metric tonnes per annum.
- Osool Poultry Plant aims to increase Oman’s egg self-sufficiency by as much as 85%, and serve as an export plant for neighbouring GCC states.
- Al Bashayer Meat Project and Oman Oilseeds Crushing are under way.
- Private equity food fund in partnership with the Public Authority for Stores and Food Reserves to enhance food security and generate returns.
- An Oman Commodity Platform will establish an online commodity trading platform as a sole procurement window for OFIHC subsidiaries and other food sector players who subscribe to the platform.
- A food logistics company and an integrated coconut farm are some of the other projects planned.
- A food techno park is also being considered to utilise latest technologies such as aquaponics and innovations in sustainable agriculture in desert conditions.
- The arrival of greenhouses in the country – which currently stand at around 4,700 – and focus on developing technological solutions to address water shortages, has allowed Oman to turn into a promising agriculture producer.
SUPPLY CHAIN AGREEMENT
The ASYAD-OFIC MoU is committed to the development of agri-food value chains, hubs, storage and other logistics facilities in Oman. It will support the delivery of agri-food from farms to the table.
"Oman currently loses 24 per cent of fisheries production and 40 per cent of agriculture production through supply chain, that can be reduced to 6 per cent and 10 per cent respectively."