High-yield imported cows to boost dairy production
Oman has started importing thousands of costly Australian cows for an ambitious dairy project which aims to produce 985mn litres of milk by 2040. However, that development has met with some criticism with people calling for better utilisation of local varieties in Dhofar.
Referring to the criticism shared on social media platforms, Eng Saleh bin Mohammed al Shanfari, CEO, Oman Food Investment Holding Company (OFIC), an umbrella state-owned enterprise mandated to promote Oman’s food security, said that local varieties graze in fields and are milked by hand.
“They are usually small and low-yielding cows. The imported cows are prepared for automatic milking, providing as much as 40lt of milk per day. In comparison, local varieties provide approximately 4lt of milk.”
Mazoon Dairy Company, which plans to begin dairy production in the second quarter of this year with the objective to produce over 202mn litres of milk annually by 2026, and to increase capacity to 985mn litres by 2040, has already received 3,400 Australian cows in two shipments delivered in January and February. The company, whose state-of-the-art dairy farm is coming up in Al Sininah in Buraimi, expects importation of 8,250 cows by 2020.
H E Dr Fuad bin Ja’afar bin Mohammed al Sajwani, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, visited the Mazoon Dairy farm in Buraimi on February 13 and recognised the project as a major economic milestone. Eng Shanfari added that another project has been initiated in Dhofar to benefit local farmers and small-scale dairy production houses.
“Al Murooj Dairy Company has been established to help farmers owning local varieties of cows by engaging with the community in Dhofar as well as setting up milk collection centres. The collection project also targets camel milk.”
Al Murooj will boost dairy production in Dhofar by undertaking a cooperative dairy programme wherein milk will be collected from cattle farmers and in turn marketed as a final product by the company. The company signed an agreement with Indian Dairy Machinery Company in January for the supply of technology and laboratory instruments to test the quality of milk.