The outbreak of COVID-19 has affected farmers in Oman adversely, said Saed al Kharusi, chairman of the Board of Omani Agriculture Association.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Kharusi, said that the sultanate produces a variety of vegetables which are available in large quantities in the markets. “Omani vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, peppers and lettuce are available in large quantities, which are enough to last two months. Other items such as ladies finger, eggplant, pumpkin, cantaloupe, and watermelon will last longer than that.”
Kharusi said the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and Omani Agriculture Association have launched an initiative to support Omani agricultural products. “The initiative will provide special places to sell Omani products in markets at commercial centres across governorates. There will be special corners to sell Omani crops. The initiative aims to encourage Omani farmers and highlight these crops in a way that suits all segments of society.”
Kharusi said that since the farmers have stopped exporting products there is surplus in the market but the demand is not much.
“Since these are perishable items, farmers have no option but to sell them at lesser prices. Most farmers have taken loans from the Oman Development Bank (ODB) and if they do not pay the loans they will face problems for the next season.”
To deal with the crisis some Omani farmers have put their lands on sale. “Farmers need support and ODB must waive off the loans given to farmers till this pandemic lasts,” urged Kharusi.
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