The potential of transforming Salalah into Oman’s vegetables basket
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Prathapar, Sanmugam A.; Khan, M. M.; Mbaga, M. D. 2014. The potential of transforming Salalah into Oman’s vegetables basket. In Shahid, S. A.; Ahmed, M. (Eds.). Environmental cost and face of agriculture in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries: fostering agriculture in the context of climate change. London, UK: Springer. 15p.
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Agriculture in the Sultanate of Oman is mostly small scale and is a part of the traditional way of life. The majority of the population benefit from agriculture, however little. The 67 % of the population was in households that had at least one crop or livestock holding where the output contributed to consumption or income. Since the year 2000, the Government spent Rial Omani (RO) 20.1 million on agriculture and fishery development, and another RO 39.4 million on water resources development. Furthermore, the government encourages farming by offering land, machinery, and extension services. However, during the period 2000 till 2007, crop production has in fact gone down. In other words, despite being a capital rich country, substantial investment in agriculture, it is increasingly becoming a food insecure country. An indepth analysis of Oman’s agricultural sub-sectors shows that, household sub-sector contributed 27 % of the total value. Primary crop production in Oman in 2005/07 was 486.872 metric tons of which contribution of fruits and vegetables were 353,072 metric tons and 102,606 respectively. In comparison, only 26,206 metric tons of cereals were produced. The value of production of cereals and vegetables were 7.8 and 17.6 million RO respectively. This comparison confirms that Omanis prefer producing high value vegetables to cereal crops. In addition to vegetables produced locally, Oman imported 148,345 metric tons during the same period. Therefore, it is interesting to explore, if vegetable production in Oman can be further increased, resulting in increased income and near self-sufficiency in vegetables. If Oman chooses to increase vegetable production, then it has to come from a major shift in its current land and water use practices, because almost all of its cultivable lands and available freshwater are fully utilized at present. In this chapter we explored if the Salalah region of Oman could be transformed into Oman’s vegetable basket, leading to self-sufficiency in its vegetable needs.