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Gene banks to boost grape production, self-sufficiency

5 Jul 2021 By MOHAMMED TAHA

As part of its efforts to achieve self-sufficiency in homegrown fruits and vegetables, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources (MAFWR) is planning to establish two genetic banks for the development of grape varieties in Oman. 

The gene banks are part of a project to develop and grow grapes in the sultanate that was launched in June 2020, and will run till June 2023. The project is funded by the Agricultural and Fisheries Development Fund (AFDF).

Khalid al Aghbari, deputy director of the project to develop grape cultivation in MAFWR, said, “The project aims to develop, produce and market grapes, and train farmers on modern grape cultivation, such as fertilisation and pruning, and the use of new technologies that reduce effort and cost. 

“The project also aims to establish genetic banks for the development of grape varieties and for research studies. The ministry will establish two genetic banks, one in Bahla and the other in Sohar.” 

He added that under the project, 12,500 grape seedlings will be planted on 25 acres of land in five governorates in cooperation with small and medium enterprises. Seven acres will be in North Sharqiyah, five each in Dakhliyah, Dhahirah, North Batinah and South Batinah, and three acres in Dhofar.

Talking about the ministry’s efforts to support farmers, he said, “Around 25 farmers will benefit from this project. The ministry will provide free grape seedlings to farmers and support them with modern irrig-ation tools. The ministry will also prepare a marketing programme for grape products, design a marketing identity for Omani grape producers, and provide packaging to   preserve the grapes.”

MAFWR recently announced the implementation of a project to establish commercial fields to grow mango, banana and sweet lemon.

The ministry has set some conditions for Omani farmers to benefit from the project financed by AFDF. The farmer must be Omani and the area of land that will be cultivated should not be less than one acre. 

The farmer must provide a permanent source of irrigation, and the soil of the farm should be suitable for cultivation. He must also use seedlings provided by the ministry.

‘The project will continue to help farmers grow more diverse crops in various governorates to support efforts in achieving self-sufficiency,’ the ministry said.

 

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