MUSCAT: Petroleum Development Oman’s (PDO) social investment project, Banat Oman has signed an agreement with Lulu Hypermarkets to sell a range of its locally made organic cheese products.

This is the latest in a series of initiatives to sell Banat Oman products in retail outlets across the country.

“We are delighted to have signed the agreement with Lulu Hypermarkets. Lulu is a major retailer and this is an important landmark in the marketing of Banat Oman products and supporting the Omani ladies and their families,” said Hanan al Rumhy, PDO’s social investment advisor.

PDO is funding the community-based Banat Oman vocational training initiative for low income Omani women to help develop and nurture skills and create sustainable commercial opportunities and jobs for them.

The first Lulu Hypermarket to sell the three Banat Oman cheeses (akawi, white cheese and labneh) is the Salalah branch. This will shortly be followed by a store in Muscat and the plan is to sell the dairy products in other Lulu branches across Oman. A refrigerated lorry has been purchased to transport the cheeses from Dhofar where they are manufactured to Muscat.

“I would like to thank PDO for the Banat Oman project. After 19 years of unemployment, I now have a job which gives me and my family a secure future,” said Asal bint Aslam Faraj, who has benefited from the project.

A focus for Banat Oman in recent months has been to establish a strong retail network for its broad range of products. Al Fawaris Bakeries have also placed an order for cheeses in their three shops in Muscat.

The five-star Rotana and Juweira Boutique hotels in Taqa are supplied with products including dairy and bakery goods, souvenirs, staff uniforms and bed sheets. To date, more than 200 women have been trained by the Banat Oman project in a wide range of skills such as tailoring and embroidery, leathercraft, camel bone carving, silversmithing, baking as well as dairy product manufacturing.