PAMAP liquidation brings vegetable prices up in Oman
The retail prices of some of Oman’s locally grown fruit and vegetables have been rising this production season, reported the Oman Daily Observer. Vegetable traders at Muscat’s Al-Mawaleh market claim that the closing down of the Public Authority for Marketing Agricultural Products (PAMAP), the old vegetable marketing authority, is the main reason behind the price rises.
Established in 1981, the state-run PAMAP was liquidated last year, after government efforts to privatize the authority failed. The body assisted local farmers to increase productivity and market their produce by offering them government subsidies and establishing a marketing network, which consisted of refrigerated collection, distribution and storage facilities.
The national PAMAP was made redundant when in 1997 the Muscat municipality opened the Al-Mawaleh central fruit and vegetable market. Similar wholesale municipality markets soon commenced commercial activity also in Sohar, Ibri and Salalah.
Whereas in the past, PAMAP used to buy up the farmers’ excess produce and either export or destroy it, traders today say that crops are stockpiled and slowly released onto the markets, where they are fetching relatively high prices. The situation has particularly influenced the prices of potatoes and carrots—both mass-produced in Oman and can be preserved for relatively long periods of time.
Other reasons cited for the recent price hikes include new restrictions on vegetable imports and difficulties in transporting agricultural produce from the wholesale markets. A shortage in agricultural labor has also adversely affected Omani farmers, as many illegal foreign workers employed on local farms have recently left the country under a national amnesty scheme. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)