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OM23_IN_OMIFCO_Ahmed Al Marhoubi

OMAN - Industry

Ahmed Al Marhoubi

CEO, Oman India Fertilizer Company (OMIFCO)

Bio

Ahmed Said Al Marhoubi is CEO of OMIFCO. Before becoming its CEO, he was OMIFCO’s CFO and has been a part of its senior management team since 2012. He has more than 14 years of experience in strategy, finance, and accounts and risk management areas across different industries. Internationally, he has been a board member of the Arab Fertilizer Association (AFA) since 2016 and a member of the Agri-nutrients Committee of the Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemical Industries (GPCA) since 2015. Al Marhoubi holds an MBA from the University of Bedfordshire, UK, and a bachelor of accounting from the College of Commerce and Economics of Sultan Qaboos University.

"Oman’s agricultural policy is centered on food security, especially since 2007-2008, when global food prices rose sharply."
A key player in food security in Oman and globally, OMIFCO remains at the forefront of making a meaningful contribution to the agriculture sector.
India has signed a three-year urea import deal with OMIFCO to ship in 1 million tons of the crop nutrient a year. What have been other major highlights for the company in the past year?

Since 2021, OMIFCO has exported urea to more than 14 countries across four continents, including the US, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, South Africa, Mozambique, Thailand, Nepal, and India. In addition, OMIFCO continues to meet the domestic urea requirements of the local Omani farmer community. Furthermore, OMIFCO continues taking the necessary actions to minimize its operations’ environmental impact and significantly contribute to CSR initiatives. OMIFCO executed more than 35 projects in 2021 and 68 projects in 2022 around its four priority CSR investment areas: capacity building, environmental stewardship, preserving culture and heritage, and enhancing the quality of life.

Agri-nutrients producers are facing immense pressure to ensure an interrupted supply of vital nutrients. What is OMIFCO overcoming the current complex challenges?

OMIFCO has recently undertaken the implementation of a business continuity plan while proactively undertaking all the necessary measures to ensure the seamless continuity of operations, including but not limited to the robust preventive and corrective maintenance programs, keeping production schedule on track, continuous digitalization program to boost productivity, and enhancing its IT security infrastructure.

What projects is OMIFCO involved to improve food security in the country?

OMIFCO recognizes its role as a critical stakeholder in addressing food security in the Sultanate of Oman and globally. We have always been at the forefront of making a meaningful contribution to enhancing food security locally. Some of our initiatives include providing urea at subsidized prices for local farmers, distributing farm equipment, providing refrigerated trucks for farmers, and mobile veterinary clinics. OMIFCO is also setting up greenhouses in schools to get the attention of young Omanis and shape their minds on farming methodologies.

How do you assess the agricultural market in Oman, and how is the country performing compared to neighboring countries?

Oman’s agricultural policy is centered on food security, especially since 2007-2008, when global food prices rose sharply. Agriculture and fisheries continue to be significant benefactors of the government’s increased initiatives in Oman’s bid to reduce dependence on food imports. The progress is reflected in Oman’s considerable increase in self-sufficiency over the last decade. Since 2012, Oman has advanced its food security status by 13.8 points in the food security index. For the year 2022, Oman improved by five ranks to stand at 35, with 71.2 points out of 100, according to the World Food Security Index. As of 2022, Oman has 102 priority food security projects, of which 66 are toward agriculture, 28 are related to fisheries, and eight correspond to water resources. Omani farmers are encouraged to expand the cultivated areas and use technology to improve yields. For example, OMIFCO recently signed an agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Water Resources to fund an indoor vertical farming project to produce leafy greens. The emphasis on becoming self-reliant in food production will continue, driven by the government’s support.

What steps is OMIFCO taking to integrate environmental excellence into its business strategy?

OMIFCO is committed to reducing the environmental impact resulting from its operations and made environmental excellence a top priority, as reflected in its vision statement. During the plant design phase, OMIFCO undertook all the necessary measures to ensure the environmental impact of its operations would be minimal. OMIFCO has established an environmental management system that includes managing air emissions, effluents, and solid wastes with a monitoring system for each source of pollution. OMIFCO has set up several environmental monitoring stations to monitor and control emissions resulting from the operation of stacks, monitor the ambient air quality, and watch the seawater and groundwater quality. In December 2022, OMIFCO signed an MoU with OQ Alternative Energy to conduct a feasibility study on carbon capture, storage, and utilizations. OMIFCO is also undertaking various initiatives to enhance energy efficiency.

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