“With more than 18 years’ experience in the fisheries sector, we knew Dawood had it in him to make it big. With the right finance and strategic assistance on business and financial planning, we set Five Oceans on the path to success,” says Sami Al Hassan, Investment Executive, GroFin, manager of the Nomou Oman Fund.
From the moment a fish is caught to when it is served on a plate, a complex value-chain takes place, creating employment for a significant amount of semi-skilled workers and driving local industry. In countries like Oman, fish are caught by local fisherman and transported to fish processing facilities, where they are washed and prepared for either export or local sale. And with a state-of-the-art fish processing facility, Nomou client Five Oceans Fisheries now serves as the vital link in this value chain.
Adding Value to the Business
Dawood Al Wahibi, the entrepreneur behind Five Oceans Fisheries explains, “With GroFin’s assistance, we have been able to construct the facilities and buy the equipment required to add value to the fish we receive, adequately preparing them to be sold locally and abroad.”
All products are of export quality as 70%-80% is sent to foreign shores. The main importers of the fish fall in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, meaning that Five Oceans directly contributes towards significantly boosting trade activity in its home region.
The finance of OMR 380,000 sanctioned under the Nomou Oman Fund has allowed Dawood to purchase high quality processing equipment that processes the caught fish in accordance with Free Trade, World Trade Organisation and European Union best practices.
Dawood credits Nomou with his success, stating candidly, “We faced several difficulties in the beginning, and many strategic partnerships went wrong. I approached Nomou in 2007 as a start-up entrepreneur, and found not only finance but also market expertise, financial assistance and business advice, all under the same roof.”
Apart from finance, GroFin also provided business support that enabled the setup of a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) management system, which addresses food safety through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards. Also, besides helping establish the processing facilities, GroFin also worked with Dawood on diversifying the business’s activities and exploring other avenues of horizontal integration.
Social and Economic Impact in Oman
The task of washing, cutting, freezing, quality-checking and packing raw fish is one that is already showing high potential to employ the surrounding community.
Dawood adds, “We are training a group of local women in their 50s to assist us in our production line. Each is being educated on the process and sent for a medical check. Our business is part of the community and it is important that the community is a part of it.”
Five Oceans will also boost the trade of local fishermen. Dawood explains, “Our facilities can process an average of five tonnes of freshly caught fish per day. An average fisherman will catch approximately 120kg of fish over an eight-hour shift. Four fishermen will therefore catch an average 500kg, meaning our daily requirement of 5 tonnes will involve over 40 fishermen.”
In 2011, its processing facility became fully operational, and today processes over 300 tons of fish per month, employs 38 people, boasts an Omanisation ratio of 27% and supports dozens of fishermen, while exceeding its revenue and profitability goals.