An agricultural revolution is beginning to sprout in the Sultanate of Oman. Land which for?
An agricultural revolution is beginning to sprout in the Sultanate of Oman. Land which for centuries has produced little but dates and onions is now yielding tomatoes and cauliflower lettuce and watermelons and fields of wheat.
Using water from artesian wells and aflaj, the ancient sub surface, irrigation canals, experts are trying to create balanced agriculture in a dry land.
It is part of the efforts of the young Oman ruler Sultan Qaboos bin Said to build solid economic base and reduce the state's almost total dependence on oil revenues.
Four experimental farms have been set up in different parts of Oman to find the crops and varieties best suited to the climate and the soil. Twenty extension centres have been set up to teach local farmers the new agricultural techniques and encourage them to grow crops they have never seen before.
Little resistance has been reported to the new ideas. Until very recently the people of Oman ate few vegetables. And in the interior, where fish markets were fewer and less well stocked, the population has been prone to vitamin and protein deficiency.
Now limited diets are beginning to be supplemented by the experimental food production.
Enough water is available underground, much of the soil is good and when the new agricultural techniques have spread to a new generation of Omani farmers they can harvest Oman's potentially vast growing surface.
SYNOPSIS: Experimental farms have been sprouting in the Sultanate of Oman on the Arabian Peninsula.
They herald an agricultural revolution in a dry land where farming methods have not changed for centuries.
Before-dates, tropical fruits and onions were grown. But many vegetables were unknown.
Now carrots, tomatoes, cauliflower, lettuce and watermelons and fields of wheat flourish. They are beginning to enrich the diet of many Omani who have been prone to protein and vitamin deficiency.
Beneath the surface Oman is rich in water and well as oil.
The crops are fed from artesian wells and ancient underground irrigation channels. The experimental farms are also carrying out trails on how the precious water can be conserved.
Tomatoes plants impress local farmers producing scarcely enough to feed themselves and there is little resistance to the new ideas
The farmers and training centres are part of the efforts by the young Oman ruler, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, to build a solid economic base and reduce total dependence on oil revenues.