MUSCAT, JULY 17 – Oman’s agriculture and fisheries sector registered a mammoth 16.3 per cent growth in 2016 against an average 6.4 per cent in the previous five years. The real GDP contribution from the sector also showed improvement during the recent years.
The relative share of the sector in the overall GDP improved to 2.0 per cent in 2016 compared to an average share of 1.3 per cent during the previous five years.
“Two consecutive years of marked fall in food prices in the international markets in 2015 and 2016 benefited Oman to a great extent in terms of moderation of domestic food prices”, points out a report by the Central Bank of Oman (CBO).
The contribution of fishing sector to overall GDP has been set at 2 per cent by 2020 with an annual growth rate of 5.6 per cent.
The apex bank reveals in its 2016 annual report that the relative share of agriculture and fishing in the overall GDP improved to 2 per cent in 2016 compared to an average share of 1.3 per cent during the previous five years.
As the country largely depends on imported foodgrains and other agro-based products, international prices of those commodities often influence the price situation in the domestic economy.
“In order to make the growth process in Oman more resilient to the external price shocks, ‘Vision Document’ has set the target for the agriculture sector to contribute about 3.1 per cent of GDP by 2020 with an annual growth rate of not less than 4.5 per cent”, says the report.
Throughout all the Five-Year Plans, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has developed and implemented several policies, mechanisms, and programmes aimed at providing a suitable productive environment for Omani farmers, livestock breeders and fishermen.
The Ministry seeks to promote viable investment capabilities in the agricultural and fisheries sectors in coordination with the relevant Government institutions and private companies. As part of this plan many projects were implemented with investments amounting to about RO 509.4 million, and a fish production output of 462,000 tonnes.
These projects are expected to receive a direct financial return of RO 369.6 million in fixed prices and an indirect return of RO 739.2 million, in addition to providing more than 8,600 additional direct jobs by 2020.
In line with the future vision 2040 strategy of the Sultanate and the ongoing efforts for the development of the fisheries sector, the ministry has signed a contract with the World Bank to complete the Ministry’s plan for the development of this sector.
The cooperation programme is intended to develop a comprehensive strategy for the development of the fisheries sector, as per international standards and requirements. This project is now in its final stages.
The ministry is also striving to attract national and foreign investments in aquaculture so that its contribution to the GDP can be increased.