Jabal Akhdar fruit season hit by pests

MUSCAT, Sept 9 – Jabal Al Akhdar, which means ‘The Green Mountain’, is known for its seasonal fruits. While it is the best time to buy fruits like pomegranate, peach, apricot, grapes and walnuts, many crops have been afflicted by pests. Walnuts, for instance, is facing a threat from ‘Icerya purchasi Mask’, a disease that seriously affects the yield. While attributing it to the lack of rain, the locals said the authorities ignored farmers’ requests for pesticides to fight the pests. “We have taken up this matter with official agencies such as the Ministry of Agriculture. It was also discussed with the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) officials,” said a local farmer.

We propose to hold a meeting with the owners of farms in the area, he said. Jabal Al Akhdar is called the ‘Fruit Basket’ of Oman. According to official figures, there are 27,000 pomegranate trees that help earn RO 3 million for farmers every year. Atop the Jabal Al Akhdar is the beautiful Wadi Bani Habib. This valley, some 35 kilometres west of the main road, is one of the few valleys whose appearance changes throughout the year. The principle tree here is the walnut, whose bright green foliage in summer gives way to the leafless grey branches during winter.

YAHYA AL SALMANI