#OmanPride: Omani siblings craft bags to protect date crops from locusts
April 19, 2016 | 9:07 PM
by Hasan Shaban Al Lawati/[email protected]

Muscat: Amid reports about desert locusts approaching the Sultanate, and posing a threat to crops, six Omani siblings have invented date protection bags to keep Oman’s most favourite fruit safe from pests.

The made-in-Oman bags can be used by farmers to cover dates on palm trees for protecting them from insects, such as locusts and red wasps. “The idea is actually taken from one of our customers who used to request for larger size vegetable bags,” said Adil Habib Al Zadjali, chairman of Al-Taawun Plastics L.L.C.

“He told us about his concept of protecting his trees. Later, we thought of modifying the product and commercialising it to have our own local brand of protection bags,” he said, adding that the product is thriving as he exports it to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.

The family has been producing plastic bags for covering potatoes, onions, cabbage, cucumbers and other kinds of vegetables in their factory set up in 1994.

A year later, the factory produced its first line of plastic bags, which can now be seen in many hypermarkets in Oman. Al Zadjali said his company has introduced different size of bags as some palm trees are bigger than others.

Traditionally, farmers have been covering their yet-to-mature dates using fabrics.

“Such fabrics not only ruin the look of a palm, but also block sunlight and air from reaching the fruits, which ultimately affect their taste,” Al Zadjali explained. The plastic bags also keep dates from falling to the ground. It is worth mentioning that there are around eight million palm trees in the Sultanate, according to the official website of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

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