The Sultanate's government is making extraordinary efforts to achieve food security. It established Oman Food Investment Holding Company in 2012 to work on ground with the vision of ensuring food for all. There are other organisations concerned with the investments in the food security areas. They are making huge efforts which should be appreciated. They are particularly focussing on agriculture, livestock, and fisheries.
If the idea is further expanded and covers all citizens, the objective will become easier to achieve. Every citizen can contribute by having their own home gardens and as well as farming in their available lands. This idea can be disseminated through awareness campaigns among citizens and residents alike. They can make themselves self-reliant in farming of certain agricultural products and livestock.
We hope that the organisations concerned would start thinking over the idea. This can help in addressing the aspirations of the people and the state. This is how we can also create capabilities among the citizens and residents of the country to become self-reliant.
There is no doubt that significant progress is being made in becoming self-reliant in agricultural and livestock products. But the road is still long enough. It needs huge investments and higher level of awareness on how an individual and the society can contribute to this endeavour. This is the area which requires individual and collective investments. Statistics show that the ratio of self-reliance in poultry meat is not more than 30 per cent and in other meats it is less than 20 per cent. In the area of agriculture, it different during summer and winter and varies according to the climatic conditions.
If the citizens are urged to utilise their gardens, homes and farms for seasonal agricultural produce, fruit trees and raising certain animals and poultry farming to become self-reliant, it will have its own advantage. Whatever extra they produce they can sell in the local markets. With the passage of time, the idea will expand, and more and more people will adopt it. It will transfer from one generation to other.
This will require massive awareness campaign using all platforms about how seasonal farming is done and how small reserves are made and maintained. The organisations concerned should take it up as one of their missions. This will certainly lead to many citizens adopting such ideas. It is a nature that human being always opt for what it finds natural way of living. This human nature can be helpful in urging citizens to adopt the idea of being self-reliant at least in certain agricultural produce and livestock such as poultry and goats.
More than 90 per cent of the people in Oman own houses. If they have sufficient space to grow a kitchen garden, they should go ahead with that. Apart from them, the organisations concerned can also create awareness about how certain type of farming is done in small spaces and indoors.
Countries like Iran and Iraq which have done this experiment successfully. They have made large segment of its population self-reliant at least in some types of food items. The level of self-reliance among people is higher in these countries because their circumstances have made the citizens to achieve this.
There is no doubt that weather conditions and environment also help in these activities. But at the time of massive technological advancement in water desalination and irrigation, many environmental hurdles can be removed. The only requirement is of proper education in this regard and making such technologies available for all.
We are hopeful that the mission of achieving food security should also become part of the lives of all individual citizens and residents. They should realise the importance of being self-reliant at least to meet their own day-to-day requirements of vegetables, fruits, poultry, and meat. This is not very difficult or impossible to achieve, if there is a will.