OMANI SCIENTIST DEVELOPS NEW POMEGRANATE VARIETY

An Omani researcher has cultivated a new variety of pomegranate, after trying for several years. Each fruit varies between 300 g and 830 g.

Dr Qais bin Saif bin Amer Ma’awali, who has cultivated the new variety in Mudhaibi, Izki, Ma’abela and Jebel Akhdar, has applied for a plant patent.

Dr Ma’awali, said, If the weight of each pomegranate in Mudhaibi was 300 g, it touched 490 g in Ma’abela. In Jebel Akhdar, which is considered to be best suited for pomegranate cultivation in Oman, the weight of each fruit on an average was 830 g.

Dr Ma’awali had been cultivating a new variety since Oct, 2011. I planted saplings at my farm in Samad al Shan and another at my house in South Ma’abela. In the summer of 2015, I planted saplings in the wilayat of Izki and Jebel Akhdar, to understand their growth patterns, flowering period, size of the fruit and quality.

He said that, pomegranate crop suffers from pest problem everywhere in the world, and the aim was to try out new methods to make it disease-resistant. That’s why the saplings were planted in several areas, to understand how the crop copes in different weather conditions.

Dr Ma’awali added that the pomegranate crop cultivated in Samad al Shan adjusted to summer heat and drought-like conditions.

Lack of irrigated water, soil salinity and drought were some of the challenges to overcome, but my relatives who live in different areas such as Izki and Jebel Akhdar helped me.

I am looking for support from the Omani Farmers Association, to grow the crop on a mass scale and contribute to the agricultural and economic growth of the sultanate.

The harvest period of the fruit is in winter. Average price per kilo in European markets is around RO 1.6 (USD 4.16), whereas it’s RO 1.4 (USD 3.64) in markets across Oman.

Source: NAM News Network

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