Muscat – An ambitious plan to promote startups in agriculture, foster innovation in farming and enhance food security through the use of treated water for agricultural projects was signed on Thursday.
Led by the Ministry of Labour and the National Employment Programme, in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning, and the Public Services Regulatory Authority, the executive plan of the initiative was signed by the relevant ministers and heads of the programme and the authority.
Supervised by the National Employment Programme, the initiative aims to enable use of treated water in innovative agricultural projects. The plan seeks to develop and encourage sustainable agriculture, utilise water treated from waste, promote innovation and new technology in farming, and bridge supply chain gaps by investing in local agricultural products to ensure easy accessibility for consumers.
By providing job opportunities and encouraging small and medium size enterprises to invest, the initiative aims to achieve sustainable development in the vital agricultural sector, according to Azhar bin Ahmed al Kindi, Technical Director of National Employment Programme.
In the first phase of the plan, land will be provided in Amerat for establishment of agricultural projects. “The initiative will later be expanded to all governorates of the sultanate,” Kindi informed.
Chosen projects of small and medium size enterprises will be allocated ten acres of land for investment, with the initiative focusing on developing and promoting agricultural activities, establishing innovation and technology centres in the agricultural sector, and providing support and resources to farmers, farming innovators and startups.
“The initiative will offer various services such as marketing and promotion of projects and products, technical support, guidance, training, research and development, and the necessary space and infrastructure for diverse projects.”
Kindi emphasised that this national initiative is part of the economic thrust of the National Employment Programme, which aims to find scientific and practical solutions for investment in various sectors.
The initiative is expected to create jobs and specialised spaces for contract cultivation, increase investment in food security, establishment of warehouses for agricultural products, activation of the manufacturing sector, and attract agricultural technologies, Kindi added.