In a move that is aimed at adding a further boost to Oman’s wholesale fruits and vegetables sector, the Central Fruits and Vegetables Market in Mawaleh will shift to a bigger and better equipped facility in Khazaen Economic City.
An agreement in this regard was signed by H E Eng Issam Saud al Zadjali, chairman of Muscat Municipality, Eng KalatGhuloom al Bulooshi, chairman of Khazaen Central Fruits and Vegetables Company, and Eng Salim Suleiman al Thuhli, CEO of Khazaen Economic City.
Among the many benefits foreseen as a result of the shift is a more organised, well-planned, fully air-conditioned and spacious market with ultra-modern facilities for wholesalers and buyers, which will translate to fewer heavy vehicles on Muscat’s roads. The facility will also have ample parking spaces for shoppers.
The new market will serve as a one-stop hub for retail and wholesale of fruits and vegetables in Oman by consolidating importers, exporters, wholesalers, retailers and consumers in one central destination.
‘World-class infrastructure and facilities will replace the Central Fruits and Vegetables Market in Mawaleh as the government has decided to have only one central fruits and vegetables market in Khazaen. Muscat Municipality plans to convert the current Mawaleh site to be dedicated for retail, commercial and tourism related activities which will be announced following the complete relocation of wholesale activities to Khazaen,’ a press statement from the municipality stated.
The new Khazaen Central Fruits and Vegetables Market will be three times the size of the Mawaleh facility with provision for future expansion.
Its new features will include a laboratory to test agricultural samples under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources and multiple gates for entry of trucks.
Additionally, the market will have support services for banking, a 250,000sqm central truck parking area, a mosque, supermarkets, PRO offices and restaurants. The new market will also have retail outlets to cater to individual customers from surrounding areas.
Commenting on the signing of the agreement, H E Zadjali, said, “The agreement is aimed at improving urban planning in Muscat governorate and will see the Central Fruits and Vegetables Market converted into a multipurpose one that will include retail stores, entertainment and tourism facilities. The agreement comes within Muscat Municipality’s efforts to ensure optimum utilisation of its facilities.”
He added, “The project will be implemented in a phased manner keeping in mind the convenience of the current tenants/companies operating in the Mawaleh facility to shift smoothly. To ensure work continuity and smooth logistics, the agreement emphasises the implementation of an open market policy.”
On his part, Eng Thuhli said, “We are happy to sign this vital agreement under which all wholesale activities will shift from the Mawaleh Central Fruits and Vegetables Market to Khazaen. The new, modern market will be spread over 800,000sqm and the estimated investment value is worth RO43mn upon completion.”
He added, “The facility is being planned in a way to attract more international companies to invest in Oman’s food sector, in areas such as food processing, packaging, logistics and distribution, and wholesale and retail trading.”
According to Eng Thuhli, the central market will be one of the major components of Khazaen and is expected to meet Oman’s strategic food security objectives.
Market and economic feasibility studies having been completed, the project is now being designed by a globally reputed consultancy firm with vast experience in designing agricultural produce markets.
Part of Phase II of the Khazaen Economic City project, construction work on the new market is expected to start in the first quarter of 2022.
It will also provide integrated logistics solutions for cold and dry storage, in addition to state-of-the-art supporting facilities for storing, packaging, handling and transporting food products.
Easy connectivity with ports, including Suwaiq Port, Sohar Port and Khazaen’s own inland dry port, is expected to contribute to the success of the new market, which is being seen as an important building block of a fully integrated city for food industries covering manufacturing, packaging and processing.
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