Batinah farmers export farm produce to Japan

By Zainab Al Nasseri — MUSCAT: Dec. 20: The Batinah Farmers’ Association has achieved a breakthrough by exporting green beans to Japan, a country known for strict food standards. “They were able to meet international standards within a short time and export tonnes of green beans,” Said al Kharousi, Head of the Association, told the Observer.
“Our task is to protect green areas and contribute to the local economy by exporting products. We grow vegetables and fruits such as mango, guava, date palms and lemon. Production, however, depends on the seasons,” he said.
During 2016-2017, they plan to produce 650-700 tonnes of fruits and vegetables. “A majority of the production will go to the local market to meet the domestic needs. We are also making efforts to export them.”
Al Kharousi said the association had difficulty in exporting because of the cost of air cargo. “Last season, we tried to export pepper, but high transport costs (700 baisa/ kg) on Oman Air was an impediment. We are working hard to promote local production, but we will not achieve anything in the absence of support,” he said.
Al Kharousi said there have been efforts to export watermelon to Holland. The deal hasn’t been finalised as yet.
The association has 105 members who are mostly farmers or owners of farms. They look at exchanging experiences by attending agriculture exhibitions and events in Oman and abroad, and learning about new technologies in the field.
He said the association’s biggest challenge is the lack of support vis-a-vis sea and air shipment for exporting surplus production to international markets, especially Norway, Italy and Britain.
“The surplus is going waste. If we are able to export it, it will contribute to the local income,” he added.