Manah: With the aim of limiting dependence on imports and boosting food security, the Sultanate accords great attention to agriculture.
Further, the Sultanate has sought to develop its own resources and set up productive projects, as well as utilised agricultural land in an ideal way.
The Wilayat of Manah in the Governorate of A’Dakhiliyah is endowed fertile agricultural land. Agriculture receives a great attention in Manah due to its large tracts of fertile soil.
Al Awaija Farms are one of the major fertile areas in Manah. They receive great attention from the farmers due to the increased water flow at “Falaj Al Khatam” in other words the “ancient irrigation system or water channel.”
The farmers level these lands to be utilised for growing several types of agricultural crops, such as sugarcane, wheat, oat, legumes, pumpkin, chilly, eggplant, onion, garlic and tomato, as well as Alfalfa for livestock.
Some agricultural crops produced by Al Awaija Farms represent good financial revenue for farmers. Farmers also utilise these areas for breeding animals and spending time for recreation. The good water flow of Falaj Al Khatam due to the recent rains has contributed to the expansion of green areas in Al Awaija.
Falaj Al Khatam is of great importance as farmers depend on it for irrigating crops. The falaj flows from a village in the Wilayat of Nizwa called Sa’al, which is 30 kilometres away from Manah. The water of the falaj is distributed on the basis of bidding that takes place twice a year, starting from January.
In the past, Al Awaija Farms have represented a source of income for many families. Crops of wheat and oat play a significant role in the economy of the wilayat as they are sold to wilayats in the Governorate of A’Dakhiliyah.
Sheikh Khalaf bin Yazeed Al Busaidi, one of scholars who witnessed the agricultural activity in the past, said Al Awaija was considered a motherland for families in the wilayat in the past due to the dependence of citizens on securing their daily life’s needs.
He pointed out that it was locally known as “Umm Al Faqeer” or Mother of the Poor as people head to Al Awaija for work. He added that many agricultural crops are grown in Al Awaija, such as legumes, wheat, oat, sugarcane, onion, sesame, alfalfa and corn. He further stated that these agricultural crops are sold in some wilayats, such as Nizwa and Muttrah.
The Agricultural Development Department in the wilayat plays an importance role in urging farmers to utilise their agricultural land. Hilal bin Ali Al Azri, director of Agricultural Development
Department in Manah told the Oman News Agency (ONA) that the department provides all services and facilities for the farmers. He added that the department also provides various seeds of wheat every year as the production of high-quality wheat in 2016 stood at 25 tonnes.
He added that the department also provides seeds of Omani garlic, as well as Omani red and white onion, in addition to seeds of sesame, sugarcane, different types of corn and legumes, besides saplings of Omani and foreign lemon, various citrus types and date palms.
Farmers at Al Awaija Farms ration water consumption while irrigating crops during summer by using modern irrigation methods and storing water in underground basins.