ODB Supports 4,520 Projects Worth OMR 29 Million

Published October 4th, 2018 - 06:18 GMT
The experiments proved the economic feasibility of agriculture without water and pointed out some of the crops developed by the process as having achieved profits worth OMR800 in the dual house and more than OMR8,000 in the protected house. (OBD)
The experiments proved the economic feasibility of agriculture without water and pointed out some of the crops developed by the process as having achieved profits worth OMR800 in the dual house and more than OMR8,000 in the protected house. (OBD)

The Oman Development Bank (ODB) announced that it has funded 4,520 projects in the agriculture and livestock sector between January 2014 and August 2018, which was 19 per cent of the total projects financed by the bank during the same period. It was valued to be worth OMR29.06 million.

This was revealed by ODB during a forum on the opportunities of investment in hydroponics. The forum was organised by ODB at the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) under the auspices of Salem bin Ali bin Salem Al Omrani, Director General of Agriculture and Livestock in the North and South Al Batinah governorates. The forum was attended by experts in hydroponics as well as students of the vocational college of Saham.

Engineer Ahmed bin Ali Al Muqbali, Chairman of agriculture in the directorate general of agriculture and livestock, represented the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. In his paper, which he presented on behalf of the ministry, he introduced the process of agriculture without soil, specifications of the protected houses and the areas where they can be used in open and closed system.

The paper also covered both negative and positive aspects of the process of agriculture without soil based on researches in the Sultanate.

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Al Muqbali said that the researches have proved the economic feasibility of the practicing agriculture without soil. He pointed out its importance in the open and closed systems and reviewed the most important pros and cons of agriculture without soil.

The experiments proved the economic feasibility of agriculture without water and pointed out some of the crops developed by the process as having achieved profits worth OMR800 in the dual house and more than OMR8,000 in the protected house.

He said that the agriculture without soil helped reduce water consumption, increase productivity of a unit, solve issues of availability of fertilizers, and prevented problems of salinisation and fungal and bacterial diseases.

Wail Omar, an agricultural expert, presented a paper dealing with desalination efforts in the agricultural process. He spoke about the stages of desalination and the techniques and devices used in seawater desalination.

He also explained the methods of agriculture without soil and highlighted the success of an Omani researcher who developed a device for mechanical treatment of the solution used for feeding plants in agriculture without soil process.

He asserted that this experience would be successful, and a national plant would be setup in the country to manufacture this product. This would have huge returns as it would reduce the cost of these devices and spare parts to almost 50 per cent.

The workshop was also attended by Engineer Hasan Harran, head of the Department of Agricultural Technology at the Vocational College of Saham. In his paper, Harran mentioned the experiences of the college in agriculture without soil.

He also reviewed two experiments of planting cherry tomatoes and strawberries which achieved remarkable success. The paper also highlighted the cooperation between the funded research and professional organisation in achieving integration.

He said that this could lead us to a qualitative transformation in agriculture without soil as it would have huge economic returns for farmers, in addition to having a positive impact on the national product and food security of the country.

ODB presented a working paper, which mentioned its funding trends in the agricultural sector as well as prominent statistical indicators.

The paper was presented by Jasim Al Sadi, the customer relations officer of ODB in Sohar. He said that the ODB provided long-term and short-term developmental loans for agricultural projects to start them initially or to expand existing projects. This is in line with the ninth five-year plan, which gave more importance to the agricultural sector.

Since it is a government bank, it is providing the required financial support to the sector. It has funded 397 agricultural projects in North Batinah governorate, with funds worth OMR2.96 million, between 2014 and August 2018.

At the conclusion of the forum on investment opportunities in hydroponics, a panel discussion was held to exchange of views on agriculture without water and its economic feasibility. It also showcased one of the successful entrepreneurs financed by the ODB in the area of agriculture without soil. The owner of the project explained how the project transformed the idea to a source of income.

The participants of the forum were also honored. It was also an opportunity for many entrepreneurs and owners of hydroponics projects financed by the ODB to know each other through an exhibition which was organised on the sidelines of the forum.


© Muscat Media Group

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