Oman - Agriculture



Agriculture contributes only about 3% to GDP, but engages 37% of the economically active population, mostly at a subsistence level. The potential for expanding agriculture in Oman is good. Land use is determined primarily by the availability of water. There is extensive cultivation along the Batinah and Shumailiyah coasts; in the interior, however, cultivation is confined to areas near wadis, where water is taken off by a system of water channels (fallaj). The total area under cultivation is estimated to be about 63,000 hectares (155,600 acres).

The principal agricultural product is the date, at 135,000 tons in 1999. On the Baunah coast, groves containing some 10 million date palm trees form a strip 240-km (150-mi) long and 40-km (25-mi) wide. Fruits grown in Dhofar include bananas, mangoes, and coconuts. Citrus fruits (notably limes), nuts, melons, bananas, coconuts, alfalfa, and tobacco are also grown. Tomatoes, cabbages, eggplant, okra, and cucumbers are important winter crops. Frankincense is traditionally produced from about 8,000 trees growing wild in Dhofar. Along the Batinah coast, a wide variety of produce is grown, including fruits, wheat, rice, and durra. Agricultural exports were valued at $615.6 million in 2001, while agricultural imports amounted to $1.3 billion that year.

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