Muscat: May 23, 2021:

 

In a move that is aimed at adding a further boost to Oman’s wholesale vegetables and fruits industry, the current central market in Mawaleh will shift to a bigger, more advanced new facility in Khazaen Economic City.

An agreement in this regard was signed in Muscat by His Excellency Eng. Issam Saud Al Zadjali, President, Muscat Municipality and Eng. Kalat Ghuloom Al Bulooshi, Chairman, Khazaen Central Fruits & Vegetable Company, and Eng. Salim Suleiman Al Thuhli, CEO of Khazaen Economic City.

Among the many benefits foreseen with the shift are a more organized, well-planned, fully air-conditioned and spacious market with ultra-modern facilities for wholesalers and buyers, which will translate to a lesser heavy vehicle traffic entry on Muscat’s roads. It will also boast of ample parking spaces for shoppers. The new market will serve as One-stop hub for the retail and wholesale of fruits, vegetables in Oman by consolidating importers, exporters, wholesalers, retailers and consumers in one central destination.

World-class infrastructure and facilities will replace the Mawaleh Central Fruit and Vegetable Market as the Government has decided to have only one central fruit and vegetable market to be in Khazaen. Muscat Municipality plans to convert the current Mawaleh to be dedicated for retail, commercial and tourism related activities which will be announced following the complete relocation of wholesale activities to Khazaen.

The new Khazaen Central Vegetables and Fruit Market, planned to be three times the size of Al Mawaleh facility with provision for future expansion, will have facilities like cold and dry stores, main wholesales halls, truck sales area, shaded areas for sorting and sale of onions and potatoes, agricultural inspection areas, office spaces for operating companies, forklifts servicing, electrical charging stations, vegetables and fruit sorting  yards, several gates for customs inspection for Vegetables and Fruit, laboratory for testing 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 other support services, like banking, a 250,000 m2 central truck parking area, a mosque, supermarkets, PRO offices, and restaurants among others. The new market will also have retail outlets to cater to individual customers from surrounding areas.

“Commenting on the signing of this agreement, His Excellency Eng. Issam Saud bin Hareb Al Zadjali, President, Muscat Municipality said, “The agreement is aimed at improving urban planning in Muscat Governorate and will see Mawaleh Central Vegetables and Fruits Market converted into a multipurpose market that will include retail stores, entertainment and tourism facilities. The agreement comes within Muscat Municipality’s efforts to ensure optimum utilization of its facilities.”

His Excellency added, “As per the agreement, Khazaen Economic City will allocate a suitable plot of land in the City for the Vegetables and Fruits Market. The project will be implemented in a phased manner keeping in mind the convenience of the current tenants/ companies operating at the Mawaleh facility to shift smoothly. The agreement also considers the needs of current tenants in wholesale and local farmers at the new market in Khazaen. To ensure work continuity and smooth logistics, the agreement emphasizes the implementation of an open market policy.”

His Excellency Eng. Issam Al Zadjali further said, “We hope this agreement will create added value for the market and ensure better investment of the Municipality’s assets and funds by concluding carefully studied usufruct contracts that will benefit the public.

It should be noted that Khazaen is one of the most important projects that will also boost Oman’s logistics sector. The new market is aimed at improving the operations, efficiency and quality in the vegetables and fruits sector, to which Khazaen will play the role of a key contributor as a strategic infrastructural and services hub”.

Eng. Salim Al Thuhli, CEO, Khazaen, commented, “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 800,000 m2 and is estimated investment  value worth OMR 43 million upon completion”.

He added, “Khazaen is not just a business hub, but one of the sultanate’s most ambitious development project that will contributes to enhance the national diversification plans of the country. The facility is being planned in a way to attract more international companies to invest in Oman’s food city, in areas such as food processing, packaging, logistics & distribution, and wholesale & retail trading.”

The new market will adopt an open market policy and will give more opportunity for all traders to access the market as well it allows more spaces for local framers to exhibit their products. Furthermore, the company plans to deploy the most efficient solutions and cooling systems on the super-structure to ensure more cost-effective, quick and efficient operations of the market.

Eng. Al Thuhli said this 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 Agri produce markets, Eng.  Thuhali added.

Part of Phase 2 of the Khazaen Economic City project, construction
work on the new market is expected to start in the first quarter of 2022. The new market will provide integrated logistics solutions for cold and dry storage, in addition to state-of-the-art supporting facilities like storing, packaging, handling, and transporting of food products.

Easy connectivity with ports such as Suwaiq Port, Sohar Port and Khazaen’s own inland dry port, will contribute largely 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.

The new market is certain to attract more foreign direct investment, which will further enhance Oman’s position as a hub for manufacturing and distribution of food products across the region and the world, aided by the Sultanate’s strategic position and its robust logistics infrastructure in general and Khazaen in particular.

Khazaen Economic City is the largest public private partnership project in building, management and development of economic zones in the Sultanate. The City is being developed in Barka, South Batinah Governorate and is strategically located near the capital Muscat, just 30 minutes from Muscat International Airport and around two hours from Sohar Port.

Khazaen will be linked via the proposed railway project in the future, making it an ideal location with multimodal transport options. Khazaen is the ideal logistics, warehousing, light industrial and commercial hub linking the main modes of transportation in and out of Oman.

The new integrated economic city will be the home of Oman’s first dry port, central fruit and vegetables market, special zones for light and medium industries, logistics services, besides multi-mix residential units, entertainment facilities, retail outlets, international schools and modern healthcare centres which will offer all residents a community where they can efficiently conduct business, work, live and play.