By Haider Al lawati — Nobody denies that agriculture and fisheries are among the vital production sectors in the country that can play a significant role in attracting young Omanis and offering them more opportunities. They form an important factor in diversifying sources of national income in the Sultanate and accelerating economic diversification. Both sectors affect large segments of the Sultanate’s population and thus contribute to the socio-economic stability.
Their contribution has resulted in increasing value of the GDP of agriculture and fisheries sectors from RO 327.9 million in 2011 to RO 406.1 million in 2014, with an average growth of 7.4 per cent. The current five-year plan is a continuum of the previous plans, providing promising opportunities for private sector investments in agriculture and fisheries as a sector that promises greater inducement for increasing private sector contribution to the GDP and in the country’s economic diversification.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, these two sectors have provided employment opportunities and boosted the GDP in the last three decades.
This increase has occurred in light of the sustainability of resources available for utilisation, especially soil and water resources, which reflects the productivity of each area unit and private sector investment initiatives. Moreover, agriculture and fisheries sectors provide various food commodities, accounting for an estimated one-third of the Sultanate’s food demands.
Throughout the consecutive five-year plans, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has developed and implemented a myriad of policies, mechanisms and programmes aimed
at providing a suitable productive environment for Omani farmers, livestock breeders and fishermen.
It has also implemented several development projects to boost agriculture and fisheries production in the seventh, eighth, and current five-year plans.
In agriculture and livestock sector, the ministry is in the process of completing the infrastructure of the ministry’s buildings and transferring and developing modern techniques in the field of agriculture. It has provided agricultural and livestock-related services, and produced palm tissue seedlings.
It has succeeded in introducing modern irrigation systems and developing traditional farm agricultural systems, besides protecting agricultural land from erosion and drifting. The ministry has also taken steps for plant protection (Phytosanitary) in addition to offering national vaccination and treatment.
The ministry has carried out development of agriculture and veterinary quarantine system, besides research and development projects to uplift palm trees. It has projects on dairy products and their derivatives as well as those related to the production of broilers and egg-laying chickens (chicken eggs). It has completed projects for the production of red meat and their derivatives.
In the fisheries sector, there are projects concerned with the support for traditional and commercial fishing as well as customised projects for fisheries industries and aquaculture (fish farming).
The ministry continues to undertake research for the development of fishing techniques and preservation of fisheries stock as well as projects related to the advancement of marketing and development of fish markets. The ministry is in the process of completing the fishing ports systems in the Sultanate as well as developing the fishery control and licensing, guidance systems and local administration of the fisheries sector.
The research projects related to the fisheries sector have helped in developing the fishing infrastructure and improving the quality of fish products.
The future responsibility rests with the current generation. Young Omanis must grant agriculture and fishery sectors more attention to create projects serving the development in the future. They are asked to take initiative to start new projects for the development of these sectors, especially since there is global demand for food products.