More than 10 new wheat species distributed to farmers

BAHLA: Wheat crop is one of the most important grain crops cultivated in the Sultanate which has been maintained by the Omani farmer over the years. It has become an agricultural heritage for the Omani farmer as it is cultivated in large areas of the Sultanate.
According to statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, wheat cultivation in the Sultanate fluctuates from one season to another depending on the abundance of water, which is one of the main reasons for wheat growing.
The statistics indicate that the cultivated area of wheat in the Sultanate in 1980 amounted to more than 3,000 acres, with a production rate of about 600 kg/acre. This area has gradually decreased to reach 2,103 acres according to the statistics of 2017, with a productivity rate of 1,010 kg per acre.
The continuous decline in the area cultivated with wheat is attributed to the introduction of new crops of vegetables and fruits with a rapid and cost-effective return to farmers, as well as the availability of imported wheat alternatives and the availability of flour in the market at relatively cheap prices.
Although the area cultivated decreased by about 34.7 per cent, the acre productivity has increased by 50 per cent due to the spread of cultivation of high-yielding, resistant to diseases and pests species of wheat, as well as the improvement of traditional agricultural methods, the use of agricultural mechanisation and soil and paper fertilisers.
Wadi Quriyat 226 type recorded the highest production rate of 2,400 kg per acre. The total wheat production for 2017 was around 3,980 tonnes.
Khusaib bin Salayum al Maani, Director of Agricultural and Animal Research Department in the Governorate of Al Dakhiliyah said that various wheat spices are grown in the Sultanate, locally known as Al Kuli, Al Saraeea, Al Maysani, Al Hamira, Al Jareeda, Al Walidi and Al Shuweira.
These types are characterised by their ability to withstand local climatic conditions. However, their disadvantages are low productivity, exposure to rotting and boiling, diseases and late ripening. Al Kuli is one of the most popular local varieties species for the farmers.
In an interview to ONA, Al Maani said, “The experiment proved successful in the cultivation of a number of imported wheat varieties, the most important of which are Al Sannin, Wadi Quriyat 110, Wadi Quriyat 226, Wadi Quriyat 308 and Wadi Quriyat 302.
The Director of the Agricultural and Animal Research Department, Al Dakhiliyah said that the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries was interested in the development of grown species. More than ten new species were introduced and distributed to farmers in all governorates of the Sultanate, such as Al Sannin, Wadi Quriyat 308 and Wadi Quriyat 226. The production increased from 800 kg per acre for local species until they reached more than two tonnes per acre for improved species.
The ministry has also introduced modern irrigation systems to irrigate the wheat crop. When the sprinkler system is used in different types, it has achieved a significant progress in the expansion of crop cultivation and increase its productivity in quantity and quality. — ONA