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Farming for food security

21 Sep 2020 By MOHAMMED TAHA

Farming has been integral to Omani culture for generations but with modern irrigation and cultivation techniques in practice, there is growing acceptance of it being a viable business as well as an important sector contributing to the country’s food security. 

The total area of farmland has also slowly but steadily increased over the last few years. 

The cultivated area in Oman increased by 1.1 per cent to 262,000 acres in 2019 compared to 2018, according to National Centre for Statistics and Information figures released recently.

The figures shows cultivated area was spread over 240,000 acres in 2017 and 259,000 acres in 2018.

Fodder crops accounted for the largest area of cultivated land, totalling 119,959 acres and accounting for a total production of 1,698,706 tonnes, followed by fruit crops grown on a total area of 77,510 acres producing 468,654 tonnes. 

Vegetables were grown on 55,121 acres yielding 825,260 tonnes, and field crop farms were spread over 10,265 acres producing 25,483 tonnes. 

Of the fodder crops, the total area of alfalfa cultivation stood at 23,710 acres with a total production of 406,586 tonnes, while the total area of Rhodegrass cultivation was 87,480 acres with production of 1,191,480 tonnes. The total area of sorghum cultivation was 4,222 acres and production was 49,823 tonnes, while the area planted with other forage crops reached 4,547 acres yielding 50,817 tonnes.

Among fruit crops, date palms accounted for 60,434 acres with a total production of 376,850 tonnes, while mangoes accounted for 3,623 acres producing 16,006 tonnes. The total cultivated area of bananas was 3,751 acres with a total production of 18,447 tonnes.

The total area of lemon cultivation was 3,366 acres producing 7,189 tonnes, while the total area of coconut cultivation was 1,517 acres with a total production of 6,709 tonnes. 

Papaya was cultivated in 699 acres, yielding 5,830 tonnes. Areas cultivated for other fruit crops reached 4,120 acres with a total production of 37,623 tonnes.

Among the vegetable crops, tomatoes accounted for the largest cultivated area – 6,091 acres – producing 201,293 tonnes, followed by watermelon grown on a total area of 4,161 acres yielding 56,616 tonnes. Cauliflower was cultivated on 3,345 acres to produce 28,315 tonnes.

Cantaloupes were cultivated on 2,875 acres to produce 33,818 tonnes, while pepper was grown on 2,557 acres yielding 65,331 tonnes.

The total area of okra cultivation was 1,935 acres and production was 16,843 tonnes, while eggplants were cultivated on 2,118 acres to produce 30,895 tonnes.

The total cultivation area of cabbage was 1,832 acres and production was 19,192 tonnes. Onion was cultivated on 1,324 acres and production was 9,163 tonnes. About 1,489 acres of land was cultivated with potatoes, with the production reaching 15,766 tonnes.

The total area of carrot cultivation was 1,385 acres and production was 18,303 tonnes, while the total area of zucchini cultivation was 1,171 acres with production of 10,656 tonnes.

Garlic was cultivated on an area of 449 acres yielding 2,501 tonnes. Radish was cultivated in 373 acres and production was 3,070 tonnes, while cucumbers were cultivated on an area of 326 acres with production of 73,983 tonnes. 

Other vegetables were cultivated on an area of 23,697 acres and the production was 239,520 tonnes.

As for field crops, maize was cultivated on a total area of 2,469 acres with a total production of 8,916 tonnes, while the total cultivated areas with wheat was 2,235 acres producing 3,615 tonnes. The total cultivated areas of barley was 1,459 acres with a total production of 1,901 tonnes. Other field crops accounted for a total area of 4,102 acres and production of 10,051 tonnes.


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