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RO16mn Khuwayma aquaculture farm to boost food security

6 Dec 2023 RO16mn Khuwayma aquaculture farm to boost food security By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Muscat – Oman’s aquaculture sector, particularly shrimp farming, is emerging as a key component in the nation’s strategy for food security and economic diversification. Fisheries Development Oman, under Oman Investment Authority, is leading the shrimp farming efforts with a project set to open in Khuwayma, wilayat of Jalan Bani Bu Ali, on Thursday.

Detailing the scope of the project, Bilarab bin Omar al Battashi, Project Engineer, informed that it covers 2mn sqm and has an investment of RO16mn. It aims to produce 3,700 tonnes of whiteleg shrimp annually by 2024, with potential to expand to 4,000 tonnes. An experimental harvest in March yielded 500 tonnes.

The Khuwayma facility’s comprehensive infrastructure inclu-des a hatchery unit, 48 primary nursery ponds, 126 external grow out ponds, a 1,500m main feeding channel, an ice factory, and a water desalination plant, besides essential amenities.

The project prioritises whiteleg shrimp farming, chosen for their disease resistance and suitability to Oman’s climatic and geographical conditions. “The project aligns with the government’s vision for economic diversification and food safety. It is expected to generate job opportunities for Omanis and stimulate small and medium-sized enterprises,” Battashi said.

Omanisation rate at the project currently stands at 35% with 45 Omanis employed among the 170 workers at Sharqiyah Shrimp Farming – the operating company.

Bilarab bin Omar al Battashi, Project Engineer

Dr Issa bin Muhammad al Farsi, Director of Fish Farming Development Department at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources, emphasised the project’s alignment with Oman Vision 2040. He highlighted its role in boosting fish production and contributing to national food security.

In addition to bolstering Oman’s blue economy, the project is poised to create avenues for value-added projects, technology transfer and enhancement of the national workforce’s capabilities. It has also generated a new trade for Omani citizens, where owners of fish transporters and SMEs purchase shrimp directly for local sale or export to neighbouring countries.

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