52 integrated farm projects for youth

MUSCAT, Nov 12 – Targeting Omani youth, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has decided to allocate land for setting up integrated farm projects. “The decision stems from the ministry’s efforts to provide feasible projects that generate job opportunities and involve Omani youth in agricultural and fisheries activities,” said an announcement by the ministry.
While land comprising 10 acres each for 40 projects have already been earmarked at Al Aela in the Wilayat of Al Kamil Wa al Wafi in South Sharqiyah Governorate, another 12 projects have been announced at Wadi Heibbi in Suhar.
According to the announcement, the projects aim at providing investment opportunities for Omani youth and owners of SMEs in the agricultural sector.
“Project owners will be employees as well in the system. Those who intend to become part of the project should be graduates specialised in agriculture and fisheries,” the announcement said.
The projects aim at improving production and linking it to processing and marketing.
These plans and programmes are designed to be compatible with the country’s sustainable agricultural development strategy.
The agriculture and fisheries sector registered a massive 16.3 per cent growth in 2016 against an average 6.4 per cent in the previous five years.

“Those aspiring to take up the project should be innovative and submit a proposal about what they intend to do,” the announcement said. Each farm project will be divided into three parts for the production of the targeted crops with one part for greenhouse, another for open plants and the third for aquaculture units.
Irrigated water will be recycled and used in the units, it added. The government has been continuously pursuing policies that promote economic diversification and emphasis has been laid on increasing the contribution of non-oil sectors to the GDP.
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 against an average share of 1.3 per cent in the previous five years.
According to projections, the sector is expected to contribute 3.1 per cent to the GDP by 2020 with an annual growth of not less than 4.5 per cent, while fishing sector aims to expand its contribution to GDP to about 2 per cent by 2020 with a targeted annual growth of 5.6 per cent.

SAMUEL KUTTY