Muscat – Equipped with the latest farming techniques and modern greenhouses, an increasing number of citizens are venturing into farming. A young farmer in the wilayat of Al Qabel in North Sharqiyah governorate is now producing around 1,000kg of papaya every month and bearing fruits of an effort to diversify his crops.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Mohammed Hilal al Harthi, 22, said he started growing papaya two years ago with the main goal to diversifying his income source.
“I followed experts’ recommendations on expansion and diversification of crop production to boost food security, which has become a key goal for the country that targets self-sufficiency in domestic crops,” he said.
“With papaya, I began in 2019 by cultivating less than an acre of land. In the next season, my project expanded with the government providing a lot of seedlings. I cultivated two acres, one for papaya and the other for cucumber. My farm currently has a monthly production of around 1,000kg of papaya.”
Harthi visited several countries to gain knowledge and insights into the farming methods employed in papaya cultivation. “Today, farmers in the sultanate grow a wide variety of fruits all year round,” he said.
“We are currently working on six greenhouses in our farm. We grow papaya all year round. We rely on modern agriculture methods, including drip irrigation. This reduces time and labour. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources offers us integrated programmes, helping us till the land and equipping us with modern irrigation systems and organic fertilisers.”
According to Harthi, farmers are able to grow crops in a controlled environment with the use of modern greenhouses. “This allows us to diversify crops or grow crops that are not normally suited to a particular climate. A key aspect to this is being able to maintain a stable root zone temperature that promotes healthy growth and oxygen retention within the nutrient solution.”
He said that he was grateful to Omani Agricultural Association for its supports and for conducting meetings with farmers for exchange of experiences.
Harthi utilises social media platforms to sell his harvest to wholesale traders and retailers. He now plans to increase revenue from cultivating high-quality papaya to gain a completive edge in the local market. “I hope to grow a lot of diverse crops and increase the cultivated area. I urge Omani youth and jobseekers to take up farming.”