Oman expat gets global appreciation for growing vegetables without soil

Oman Monday 27/February/2017 21:45 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman expat gets global appreciation for growing vegetables without soil

Muscat: Growing veggies without the use of soil won Dr. Zulfikar Ali much global fame and he has been inundated with calls ever since his work went viral on the Times of Oman’s facebook page.
Dr. Zulfikar Ali, a professor of Biotechnology and Botany in Oman, started growing veggies around his house using coco peat, made with coconut fibre, less than two years ago. Today he has a large rooftop garden atop the same building in which he lives. The professor uses the hydroponics process to grow plants.
Ever since the Times of Oman newspaper wrote about his work, he has been receiving congratulatory messages from people in Oman and many other parts of the world, including the United Kingdom, the United States and Malaysia.
“People are really excited about what I am doing, not that I am the first one to do this but people like a new trend. There are people who have called me from the UK, telling me that this culture is picking up and that they are really happy that people in Oman have started this, too. I want this soilless plant culture to become common in Oman.
“Some people in my neighbourhood came to me asking for tips on how to grow plants in Oman’s climatic conditions. I have received calls from people who own poly-houses in Quriyat and Buraimi and they want me to visit their farms.”
He has also been approached by someone at the Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) for a guest lecture. “I received a call from the SQU and they said the students in the College of Agriculture were very excited about the concept and they want me to give a guest lecture there.”
Further, he went on to speak about Ethno-biology, which studies the relationship between humans and plants and other living creatures.“To grow plants around you is beneficial to both the plants and the human beings. Plants clean and refresh the environment and keep your mind calm. They also lower your chances of heart diseases and, in turn, diabetes and other troubles that come along.”
Dr. Ali has now decided to give something from his garden as a present to His Majesty the Sultan. “Oman has given me a lot of respect and love, so I want to thank the country. I want this concept of soilless culture to become more popular all across Oman and I want to present my extraordinary specialties to His Majesty the Sultan as a token of that.”