The Seventh Five Year Plan (2006-2010) indeed witnessed a quantum leap in agricultural research in terms of quality and magnitude in the Sultanate. The allocation of about 12 million Omani Rials for research programs contributed enormously in the improvement of infrastructure and applied research with the achievement of positive results in respect of : production per unit area, water use efficiency and utilization of non conventional water resources (saline water and treated waste water) for agricultural production, application of eco-friendly pesticides and biological control of pests and diseases, and production of improved fruit tree seedlings, besides raising the productivity of Jimah Tissue Culture Laboratory to approximately 50 thousand date palm seedlings per year. Moreover, productive fruit tree seedlings were provided to the farmers and more healthier and productive livestock animals were provided to farmers and herders annually as a result of improvement in the research, surveillance, monitoring and diagnosis of animal diseases.
Agriculture and livestock research strategy (2011-2015) is a key document of the Directorate General of Agricultural and Livestock Research, which shows our vision, mission and goals to improve the quality of research in the relevant priority areas in consonance with country’s vision 2020. This strategy has been an outcome of several meetings and brainstorming among the researchers, extensionists, farmers and policy makers of different national stakeholders. The strategy consists of 10 mega-programs including 31 research projects and 5 supportive services projects. These mega-programs and projects have been designed to be in line with governmental policies for agricultural research in the Eighth Five Year Plan (2011-2015). The research activities within the umbrella of the strategy will be reviewed and evaluated annually to ensure quality of the research in achieving their objectives to focus on the technology transfer of outcomes to the end users.
So far, about 12 million Omani Rials are available for agricultural and livestock research from the Ministry of National Economy for the next five years, in addition to about 3 million Omani Rials from Agricultural and Fisheries Development Fund for the current approved research projects. It is worth mentioning here that the total number of Omani researchers at the beginning of 2011 is 129 of which 12 are with PhD and 17 would accomplish their PhD within the Eighth Five Year Plan.
In conclusion, I do sincerely hope that we continue developing human capacity and infrastructure in the coming five years, and look forward to witnessing tangible outcomes of agricultural and livestock research that assist in improving the income of our farming community and contributing to the national GDP.