Omani scientist develops new pomegranate variety

Muscat - 

An Omani researcher has cultivated a new variety of pomegranate after trying for several years. Each fruit varies between 300g and 830g.

Dr Qais bin Saif bin Amer Ma’awali who has cultivated the new variety in Mudhaibi, Izki, Ma’abela and Jebel Akhdar, has applied for a plant patent.

Speaking to Muscat Daily , Dr Ma’awali, said, “If the weight of each pomegranate in Mudhaibi was 300g, it touched 490g in Ma’abela. In Jebel Akhdar which is considered to be best suited for pomegranate cultivation in Oman, the weight of each fruit on an average was 830g.”

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Dr Ma’awali had been trying to cultivate a new variety since October 2011. “I planted saplings at my farm in Samad al Shan and another at my house in South Ma’abela. In the summer of 2015, I planted saplings in the wilayat of Izki and Jebel Akhdar to understand their growth patterns, flowering period, size of the fruit and quality.”

He said that pomegranate crop suffers from pest problem everywhere in the world and the aim was to try out new methods to make it disease-resistant. “That’s why the saplings were planted in several areas to understand how the crop copes in different weather conditions.”

Dr Ma’awali added that the pomegranate crop cultivated in Samad al Shan adjusted to summer heat and drought-like conditions.

“Lack of irrigated water, soil salinity and drought were some of the challenges to overcome but my relatives who live in different areas such as Izki and Jebel Akhdar helped me.

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“I am looking for support from the Omani Farmers Association to grow the crop on a mass scale and contribute to the agricultural and economic growth of the sultanate.”

The harvest period of the fruit is in winters. “Average price per kilo in European markets is around RO1.6 whereas it’s RO1.4 in markets across Oman.”

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