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Foundation laid for camel milk cheese unit in Dhofar to support rural women

29 May 2024 Foundation laid for camel milk cheese unit in Dhofar to support rural women By MOHAMMED TAHA

Muscat – The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Water Resources (MAFWR), in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), celebrated the groundbreaking of a new camel milk cheese production unit in the Dhofar governorate on Tuesday. 

The facility, funded by Al Jisr Foundation, is poised to enhance the economic prospects of rural communities by promoting cottage industries and supporting local camel milk producers.

Located in the Shahab Asayb area of Rakhyut, the 2,000sqm project is part of an initiative titled ‘Strengthening the value chain of camel milk and its derivatives by empowering women producers in Rakhyut’.

This initiative aims to provide significant economic opportunities for rural families and elevate the regional dairy industry.

Eng Rashid bin Saeed al Ghafri, Director General of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources in Dhofar, stated, “The new unit will be fully equipped to produce cheese from camel milk, tapping into the local abundance of this resource.”

He emphasised that the project would directly benefit 20 rural women in Rakhyut, aligning with the ministry’s objectives to foster rural development and women’s empowerment.

The project leverages the nutritional benefits and growing market demand for camel milk and its products. 

“With Dhofar governorate having the largest camel population in the sultanate – accounting for 60% or approximately 177,821 camels – there is a substantial scope for developing the camel milk industry here,” Ghafri added.

Thaer Yaseen, Regional Officer for Plant Protection and Production at FAO, highlighted the organisation’s commitment to enhancing the camel milk value chain. 

“This project not only aims to empower rural women by providing them with the skills needed to run a cheese production facility but also to integrate their products into global markets using international expertise,” Yaseen explained.

In 2020, MAFWR and Al Jisr Foundation initiated this venture to engage local women in cheese production.

The initiative supports Omani camel breeders and shepherds, alongside women and jobseekers in Dhofar’s rural communities, by developing a sustainable production unit for camel milk derivatives.

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