Muscat: A group of Indian expatriates in Buraimi no longer visit vegetable shops. From green leaves to tomatoes to bitter gourds, they have succeeded in growing these vegetables on their own for the last three years.
“It all started in a small way. Our aim was to have fresh and pesticide-free produce. Slowly, more and more like-minded people are joining the group. Now, there are at least 45 families in Buraimi, coordinating our farming mission,” Krishnadas Menon and his friends, who are all Buraimi residents,” told the Times of Oman (TOO).
“Growing vegetables in Oman is quite difficult. Climatic conditions are not that favourable. However, planning well in advance helps us. During summer, extra care is needed, especially, when it comes to watering and all. In other seasons, it’s a little bit easy,” the group said. Depending on the season and farming calendar, the group brings seeds from India and other countries too.
“Whoever, returns from their annual leave brings in seeds for farming. In the past, we used to visit those returning from their home countries to collect medicines or sweets. Now, we eagerly wait to collect seeds. Some people land in trouble at the airport while bringing in seeds. However, when police officials get convinced about our aim, they let us go,” Biju Thomas, who is part of the group, explained.
The group is also getting good support from nationals.
“Many were sceptical while we began farming. However, now, they are quite impressed in seeing our success. Some have even come forward to support our efforts to cultivate pesticide-free vegetables,” Ismail, another farmer from the group, said.
“We use only organic farming methods. It’s the future on farming,” Ismail added.
For the group, farming is also a lesson that needs to be passed on to the future generations.
“Our children join us in farming, and learn how to remain connected with nature. It’s a chance for them to teach us how they can nurture nature and grow together,” Asbel Justin, another member of the group, said.
The group uses social media networks to share ideas and coordinate farming in addition to conducting online research.
“It all began in a small way. Now, apart from buying onions, we never go to the vegetable shops. Our group is growing. Many nationals are also interested in house farming methods,” Menon and his friends added.