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Oman Flour Mills: Pioneering growth, innovation, and sustainability in the feed industry

04 July 20249 min reading

CEO Haitham Mohamed Ali Al Fannah outlines Oman Flour Mills' strategic investments in state-of-the-art poultry farms and new animal feed production lines, ensuring high-quality feed supply. He emphasizes their commitment to sustainability and support for local farmers, positioning the company for future growth and innovation.

Interview by: Cemalettin Kanaş

Oman Flour Mills, established in 1977, has been a cornerstone of Oman’s flour and feed industry, consistently delivering high-quality products to meet the nation’s needs. As the company continues to expand and innovate, we had the opportunity to engage with Haitham Mohamed Ali Al Fannah, the CEO of Oman Flour Mills, to discuss the company's journey, strategic initiatives, and future plans.

Haitham Mohamed Ali Al Fannah
CEO | Oman Flour Mills

Mr. Al Fannah, who has been at the helm since 2018, brings a wealth of experience and a visionary approach to the company. Reflecting on the company's growth, he stated, "Our investments in modern industrial bakeries and accredited laboratories reinforce our commitment to quality and excellence." In this exclusive interview, he shares insights into Oman Flour Mills' significant milestones, their commitment to quality and sustainability, and the exciting developments on the horizon.

From pioneering branding efforts to investing in state-of-the-art poultry farms, Oman Flour Mills has made substantial strides in diversifying its portfolio. Mr. Al Fannah highlighted that these initiatives are part of their strategic vision to "expand our presence across various segments of the food industry and deliver value to our stakeholders." This interview delves into how the company ensures top-quality products, supports local farmers, and engages in corporate social responsibility initiatives, all while maintaining a forward-looking approach to growth and innovation.

Below, you can find our questions and CEO Haitham Mohamed Ali Al Fannah's answers, providing insights into the dynamic journey of Oman Flour Mills and offering a glimpse into the future of one of Oman’s most influential companies in the food industry.

Before we explore the details of Oman Flour Mills, could you please introduce yourself and your role within the company?

My name is Haitham Mohamed Ali Al Fannah, and I have had the honor of serving as the Chief Executive Officer of Oman Flour Mills since April 1, 2018. Over the past 17 years, I have held various leadership roles within Al-Sulaimi Group Holding. I hold an MBA from the University of Strathclyde, UK, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Missouri St. Louis, USA. Additionally, I am a participant in the second batch of the National CEO Program.

Oman Flour Mills has a rich history of serving Oman's flour and feed needs since 1977. Could you share some key milestones and developments that have shaped the company's journey over the years?

Our company has undertaken several significant projects and investments to diversify and strengthen our portfolio. These include:

  • Poultry Projects: We have invested in state-of-the-art poultry farms to ensure a sustainable and high-quality supply of poultry products (Fresh Chicken & Table eggs), meeting the growing demand in the market.
  • Beverage Ventures: We have entered the beverage sector with innovative products, focusing on dairy beverages and juices. 
  • Bakery Initiatives: Our investments in modern industrial bakeries have enabled us to produce a wide range of baked goods, maintaining high standards of quality and taste.
  • Accredited Laboratories: We have established accredited laboratories to ensure the highest standards of food safety and quality control across all our products, reinforcing our commitment to excellence.

Additionally, we were the pioneers in Oman to successfully brand commoditized products, setting a benchmark in the industry. These initiatives underscore our dedication to expanding our presence across various segments of the food industry and delivering value to our stakeholders.

SYNERGIES FOR SUCCESS

Oman Flour Mills operates as part of a group of companies. Could you provide insights into the synergies between these entities and the role of the management team in driving the company's success?

Cost synergies and the creation of captive demand are key components of our strategic approach. For instance, our feed operations significantly benefit our poultry operations by ensuring a reliable and cost-effective supply of high-quality feed. This integration within the value chain not only enhances efficiency but also strengthens our competitive advantage.

Furthermore, being part of a robust and reputable group allows us to leverage our brand equity across various segments. The strong association with our parent company enables us to transfer brand credibility and trust between different brands, enhancing their market presence and consumer loyalty. This strategic branding approach helps us maximize the overall impact of our diverse product portfolio and reinforces our leadership in the industry.

Oman Flour Mills prides itself on delivering top-quality flour and grain products. How does the company ensure consistent quality standards, and what measures are in place to maintain its reputation as a trusted provider?

We source grains of the highest specifications, ensuring that only the finest quality raw materials enter our production process. At every stage of processing, we implement rigorous quality testing to maintain exceptional standards. Our accredited laboratory plays a crucial role in this process, upholding quality assurance throughout the year.

Our product development teams are dedicated to creating optimal formulations, ensuring that we deliver high-quality products to our consumers. Through continuous innovation and stringent quality control, we are committed to providing excellence in every product we offer.

Sustainability is a core value for Oman Flour Mills. Can you discuss some of the company's sustainability initiatives and how they align with its commitment to responsible practices and environmental stewardship?

As an example we employ energy-saving devices to significantly reduce electricity consumption, reflecting our commitment to environmental responsibility. Our dedicated ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) and innovation teams continuously explore and implement strategies to ensure sustainability across all aspects of our operations. Through these efforts, we strive to minimize our environmental impact and promote sustainable practices within the industry.

A CUTTING-EDGE FEED LINE WITH A 20 MT/HR CAPACITY

The company recently embarked on the construction of a new animal feed factory and grain storage facility. What is the strategic vision behind these investments, and how do they contribute to Oman Flour Mills' long-term goals?

To meet the growing market demand and the needs of our group companies, we are introducing a new feed line with a capacity of 20 MT/hr. This line incorporates the latest technology, ensuring the production of high-quality products. Additionally, its capacity can be enhanced to 40 MT/hr, providing flexibility to scale up as needed. This advancement will also enable us to explore and capitalize on opportunities in the export market, further expanding our reach and enhancing our competitive edge.

EMPOWERING LOCAL AGRICULTURE

Supporting local farmers is an integral part of Oman Flour Mills' operations. How does the company collaborate with Omani farmers, and what impact does this partnership have on both the agricultural sector and Oman Flour Mills?

We work closely with Omani farmers and have an offtake agreement for wheat, allowing us to produce 100% Omani flour products. This collaboration supports local farmers by providing them with a stable market and competitive prices, thereby motivating them to enhance the country's self-sufficiency. Additionally, we have bought experts from Australia to share knowledge with local farmers on best agronomy practices, ensuring they have the knowledge and skills to improve their yields and overall agricultural sustainability.

Oman Flour Mills has diversified its product offerings to include a wide range of feed products under the Barakat brand. Could you elaborate on the company's approach to product development and its success in meeting various livestock needs?

We develop specialized feed products designed to enhance the efficiency of animal husbandry. For example, we have developed specialized feeds for camels, which represent an upgrade over the general ruminant feeds that are typically manufactured. In addition, we have the capabilities to develop feeds tailored to consumers' specific requirements. Our commitment to excellence drives us to continuously amend and optimize formulations, ensuring the best possible results for our consumers.

Customer satisfaction is paramount for Oman Flour Mills. How does the company prioritize customer feedback and ensure a seamless experience from product purchase to delivery?

We frequently gather feedback from our customers and distributors, incorporating their suggestions to enhance our sales and marketing functions. This collaborative approach ensures that we continually improve our products and services, aligning them more closely with market needs and preferences.

With a strong presence in Oman, what are Oman Flour Mills' plans for future growth and expansion, both domestically and internationally? Are there any new product developments or market opportunities on the horizon? Are there any potential partnerships or collaborations on the horizon that could contribute to the company's growth and success?

We are in the process of acquiring several food manufacturers within the GCC. In addition, we are expanding our footprint through greenfield projects within the industry across the GCC. These strategic initiatives will enhance our market presence, diversify our product offerings, and strengthen our position in the region.

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY INITIATIVES

As a leading flour and feed mill, Oman Flour Mills plays a vital role in the community. Can you share some examples of the company's corporate social responsibility initiatives and its contributions to the welfare of society?

We have a dedicated CSR team responsible for overseeing our corporate social responsibility initiatives, with a budget of USD 520,000.00 allocated for CSR activities. Our primary focus has been on supporting the Oman Relief Fund, providing assistance to those in need during times of crisis. Additionally, we actively engage with the education, environment, health, and community sectors, collaborating with various organizations and initiatives to make a positive impact. We are particularly involved in supporting orphanages and other initiatives aimed at improving the well-being of vulnerable members of society.

COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE AND SUSTAINABILITY

As we conclude our interview, is there any final message or insight you'd like to convey to the audience of Feed Planet?

Oman Flour Mills is deeply committed to maintaining the highest standards of quality through sustainable manufacturing processes. In addition to our focus on growth and innovation, we prioritize community engagement and employee development. By integrating sustainable practices into our manufacturing operations, we aim to minimize our environmental impact while delivering superior products to our customers. Furthermore, we invest in programs and initiatives that support the well-being and development of both our local community and our employees, reflecting our holistic approach to business success.

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