Wheat Cultivation Represents Agricultural Heritage in Oman

Bahla, Wheat crop is one of the most important grain crops grown in the Sultanate. It has been maintained by the Omani farmer over the years. It has become an agricultural heritage for the Oman farmer. It was cultivated in large areas in various regions 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 (3000 acres), with a production rate of about 600 kg/acre. This area has gradually decreased to reach 2103 acres according to the statistics of 2017, with a productivity rate of 1010 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 with wheat decreased by about 34.7 percent, the acre productivity has increased by 50 percent 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 mechanization and soil and paper fertilizers. Wadi Quriyat 226 type recorded the highest production rate of 2,400 kg / acre. The total wheat production for 2017 was 3,980 tons.

Eng. Khusaib bin Salayum al-Ma’ani, Director of Agricultural and Animal Research Department in the Governorate of A’Dakhiliyah said that various wheat spices are grown in the Sultanate, locally known as Al Kuli, A’Sara’eea, Al Maysani, Al Hamira, Al Jareeda, Al Walidi, and A’Shuweira. The mentioned types are characterized by their ability to withstand the 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 of farmers.

In his interview with the Oman News Agency (ONA), al-Maani said, “The experiment proved successful in the cultivation of a number of imported wheat varieties, the most important of which are “A’Sannin,” “Wadi Quriyat 110,” “Wadi Quriyat226,” “Wadi Quriyat 308” and “Wadi Quriyat 302”.

The Director of the Agricultural and Animal Research Department in the Governorate of A’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 A’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 tons 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.

The Agricultural and Fisheries Development Fund is one of the governmental entities with administrative and financial independence, which works to support research, guidance and development projects in the agricultural sectors, plant, livestock and fish. In view of the importance of the wheat crop in the food security system and its importance to the Omani farmers and the country, the Fund financed three stages to develop the cultivation and production of wheat in the Sultanate from 2006 to 2018 with more than RO one million, which contributed to the development of the integrated system of wheat cultivation and production in the Sultanate.

Wheat is the second largest crop in the world in terms of annual production rate after maize and before rice. The global wheat production is more than 750 million tons and the cultivated area hit more than 220 million hectares.

Source: Oman News Agency