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Volume :5 Issue : 18 1979      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

SOME PROBLEMS OF AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE SULTANATE OF OMAN

Auther : By Dr. J.S. Birks and Miss S.E. Letts

 

The relatively large population of the Sultanate of Oman, its predominantly rural nature, and the modest income from exports of crude oil mean that agriculture must be feature large in future development. However, there has recently been a decline in cultivated area, and the population has shown a marked preference for non-agricultural employment, with the result that the Sultanate imports substantial quantities of food.

The prospects for increasing agricultural production by large-scale schemes are not good because of both physical and socio-economic constraints. Although some medium-sized schemes are successfully underway, these alone do not hold the key to Oman’s agricultural revival.

The main emphasis will be placed upon the improvement of existing land holdings. At present, very few of these produce more than subsistence foods: they need transforming into commercially viable units, producing a markable surplus. An agricultural extension service is already in existence, and has been effective in providing some forms of aid to farmers. It is by the strengthening of this system, backed up by research and demonstration, that interest in farming can best be reawakened: many landholders must be persuaded to become farmers. For this to be successful, agriculture will have to assure a high priority within the national scheme of planning. Once it has achieved this status, interest and progress will develop on a larger and more fitting scale.

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