The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources (MAFWR) has urged Omani farmers to grow date trees as part of its efforts to increase the country’s self sufficiency by planting one million palm trees.
The Million Date Palm Plantation Project came in response to the Royal Directives by Late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. This instruction was based upon the high importance of the date palm in achieving food security in the sultanate, and also its historical significance.
The ministry also announced the implementation of a project to create model fields for date palm, it said.
“The ministry has set some conditions for Omani farmers to benefit from the project financed by the Agricultural and Fisheries Development Fund,” an official at the MAFWR said.
“The farmer must be an Omani and the area of land that will be cultivated shall not be less than one acre,” he said, adding that “the farmer must provide a permanent source of irrigation, and the soil of the farm should be suitable for cultivation. He must also use the agricultural seedlings provided by the ministry.”
The ministry said that it would give farmers date seedlings at nominal prices.
Al Fardh and Al Majhool seedlings will cost RO2 each while Al Khalas will be given for RO5 and Al Fahool for RO1 each. Al Naghal and Al Barni seedlings will be available for RO3 each.
The ministry also announced another project that will look to replace and regenerate date palms that produce little or no dates. Under that project, date seedlings would be provided for free, the ministry official said.
“Farmers must remove all the old trees and prepare the land for planting new species.”
“One must have at least ten trees in order to benefit from the initiative,” he said, adding that “farmers must also abide by the ministry’s instructions regarding correct cultivation methods.”
The deadline for submission of applications for the two projects is June 17.
As far as the project for planting one million palm trees is concerned, the ministry said it has brought 11 farms so far under it.
The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion (MoCIIP) received 187,150 tonnes of dates from 65 farmers from across the country during 2020, said the ministry, as it announced receiving date crops from April 11 till May 20 this year.
The ministry received Mabsali, Madlouki and Abu Naranja dates from all governorates at its storage facility in WadiKabir.
As in the previous years, it is continuing to give subsidy to the farmers who supply their dates to the ministry. This is in addition to the subsidy given to the farmers who are directly exporting their crops.