The initiative is part of the ministry’s efforts to reduce the gap between local production and import of fruits to the sultanate. Frequent irrigation also reduces soil salinity, a feature that is typical of dry areas. More than 92,000 seedlings were distributed to farmers in 2018 alone according to the ministry.
Speaking to Muscat Daily an official source at MoAF said, “The Directorate General of Agricultural and Livestock Research distributed 92,201 agricultural seedlings to farmers in different parts of the sultanate in 2018.
“The ministry distributed 63,095 lemons, 6,557 coconuts, 6,500 mangoes, 2,419 papayas, 1,800 figs, 1,700 quince and 10,130 other fruit varieties.”
Talking about the role of nurseries, he said, “The ministry has five plant nurseries in Sohar, Barka, Salalah, Al Kamil W’al Wafi, and one in Jemah, in which fruits such as local lemons, mangoes, oranges, sidr, bananas, figs, mandarins, white and red grapefruits and papaya are produced every year.”
Nurseries also play an important role in controlling plant disease such as the Witches’ Broom Disease that particularly affects Omani lemons. The ministry has distributed more than 1,000 banana saplings in the Dhofar governorate. “These varieties are characterised by their good productivity,” said the official at the ministry.