Focus on improving farm mechanisation

MUSCAT: The Department of Soil, Water and Agricultural Engineering (SWAE) of the College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences at Sultan Qaboos University organised a workshop and exhibition on ‘Adoption of new technologies for improving agricultural mechanisation in Oman.’ The workshop was held under the auspices of Dr Saif bin Rashid al Shaqsi, Director-General of the Directorate of One Million Date Palm Tree Project at the Diwan of Royal Court.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Dr Talal al Shikaili, Assistant Professor in the Department, said that agricultural mechanisation is imperative to ensure increased productivity in the farming sector in the Sultanate. “Agricultural implements and machines enable the farmers to employ the power judiciously for production purposes. Agricultural machines increase productivity of land and labour by meeting timeliness of farm operations and increase work out-put per unit time.
Besides its paramount contribution to the multiple cropping and diversification of agriculture, mechanisation also enables efficient utilisation of inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and irrigation water in the country. Hence keeping the stakeholders updated about agricultural mechanisation is important for the country”, he said.
Stressing on the relevance of the workshop theme, Dr Rashid al Yahayi, the Dean of the College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, observed that sustainable mechanisation considers technological, economic, social, environmental and cultural aspects when contributing to the sustainable development of the food and agricultural sector.
Dr Hemanatha Jayasuriya, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of SWAE, outlined the extension activities of his department and its links with the government and private sector organisations that ensures proper applications of learned and produced knowledge and skills of and graduates in agriculture and related fields.
Delivering the keynote address, Saleh Mohammed al Shanfari, CEO of Oman Food Investment Holding Company, underscored the need for greater academia-industry linkage in all fields particularly in agricultural and food processing industry in the Sultanate.
He said that knowledge has no value unless it is shared and focused on current needs of the country.