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The UAE Re-Exports Million Dollars Barley to Oman

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Apr 11, 2023 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minutes

Oman has enormous diversity in essential crops of global significance, like Wheat and Barley, which are considered strategic crops. The country has an ancient cultivation history of Barley because of its location on the eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula. It is known to have several landraces spread across all the agroecological regions. In Oman, Barley is traditionally grown for fodder by planting as a mixture with local alfalfa perennial multi-cut across all governorates in plains and mountains. Currently, Barley cultivation is limited to only 613 ha, with a meager production of over 1,900 tons. 

The actual cropped area in the Sultanate of Oman is 62,000 ha, which is 2.8% of the total arable land and 0.2% of the country’s total area. Due to continuous efforts to achieve food security in the country, an increase of 7.9% in the cultivated land area was noted in 2018. During 2018-19, 3,580 tons of Wheat were produced from an area of 472.3 ha in the country. During 2018-19, the Wilayat Ibri recorded the highest production of 293.8 tons, followed by 142.3 tons in the Wilayat Bahla, 99.2 tons in the Wilayat Dhank, 93.2 tons in the Wilayat Yanqul, and 55.1 tons in the Wilayat Nizwa. The low national food production dictates the increase in imports and prices. In addition to a decrease in the area under Wheat, the average Wheat yield is also meager.

The country is experiencing a loss of biodiversity not only because of the replacement of landraces with modern cultivars, increasing salinity, and decreasing freshwater resources for irrigation but also because of the shift of lands of field crops cultivation, including Barley to vegetable cultivation in either open field or plastic houses. Despite the farmers being encouraged by MAF through some socio-economic incentives to replace landraces with modern high-yielding introduced varieties, the dual-purpose landraces are still cultivated for feed and forage by subsistence farmers in Oman. This is because of their high adaptability and tolerance to salinity.

The existence of genetic diversity and variability among the landraces of any crop species, including Barley, provides prospective competence. It is vital in formulating a tangible and successful breeding program for increased food/feed yield, broader adaptation, desired quality, and tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses.

Barley landraces form the primary genetic resource in several countries of the Arabian Peninsula because of their inherent tolerance to biotic (insect pests and diseases) and abiotic (salinity, drought, and high temperature) stress prevailing in the region. These landraces form potential parents for hybridization in crop improvement for yield productivity and resistance to diseases and pests. However, these landraces have not been fully utilized in modern breeding.

Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) is grown on about 47.4 million hectares worldwide, producing about 140 million metric tons. Developing countries account for about 18% (26 million tons) of total Barley production and 25% (18.5 million hectares) of the total harvested area in the world. Barley grain is mainly used as feed for animals, malt, and food for human consumption. Since Barley crop is utilized for animal feed and human nutrition, poor production and any kind of loss after harvest adversely affect farmers’ livestock production and, consequently, socio-economic conditions.

Oman Barley Import

In 2020, Oman imported Barley worth $36.3 million, becoming the world’s 32nd most significant importer of Barley. In the same year, Barley was Oman’s 166th most imported product. Oman imports Barley primarily from: the United Arab Emirates ($12.7 million), Argentina ($9.8 million), Germany ($4.87 million), Russia ($4.47 million), and Australia ($3.5 million).

Other sources: DEGRUYTER

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