Agricultural environments, sustainable date palm production systems in the Sultanate of Oman

Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation, hosts
Dr. Rashid Al Yahyaei, Professor of Plant Sciences, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, by organizing a scientific virtual lecture on
With the attendance of 50 experts and specialists, and representing 13 countries.

Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation’s General Secretariat, organized a scientific virtual lecture on the “Agricultural environments, sustainable date palm production systems in the Sultanate of Oman”, presented by Dr. Rashid Al Yahyaei, Professor of Plant Sciences, College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, on Monday 30th of August, 2021, with the attendance of 50 experts and specialists representing 13 Arab countries. Dr. Abdelouahhab Zaid, Award’s Secretary General, noted that this virtual lecture comes under the directives of H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, Chairman of the Award’s Board of Trustees, and within the Award’s framework and commitment to spread the scientific knowledge and awareness specialized in date palm cultivation and agricultural innovation.

From his side, Dr. Rashid Al Yahyaei, highlighted the fact that the Agroecology studies the interaction between plants, animals, humans and the environment in an agricultural system, where it applies to many agricultural ecosystems as well, while the environmental aspect is summarized in the management of natural resources in agricultural systems, such as soil, water and biodiversity. Dr. Al Yahyaei then identified 4 agricultural environments systems: production (agricultural, total), stability (change over time, biodiversity), sustainability (permanence of diversity and productivity), and parity (in distribution, evenness). Where Dr. Al Yahyaei then pointed out the need to understand the elements of agricultural environments through 4 different sciences, that fall under natural sciences and which are: properties of soil, interaction of plants and insects, beneficial and harmful plants, birds. Sociology: realizing the impact of agricultural practices on rural communities (women, workers), economics: obstacles facing the development of agricultural production methods (cost, income, market), and cultural science: factors affecting agricultural practices (religious, traditional knowledge, genetic resources).

Dr. Al Yahyaei then presented the goals of agricultural ecology, where there are 5 basic goals: developing a renewable and sustainable agricultural system that improves the income and lives of small farmers, creating diversity that makes food production more resistant to unexpected climatic changes, producing adequate food while enhancing biodiversity, and preserving on vital resources, and reduce the environmental impacts of modernizing agriculture. Dr. Al Yahyaei then highlighted the importance of the date palm tree in agricultural systems, as date palm cultivation is considered a main crop that occupies vast desert areas around the world, as the date production in the Middle East countries is the largest globally and is continuing to increasing annually. This is in addition to the increase in demand for dates and their products is increasing globally, where dates represent an important element in food security, in areas of its cultivation due to the scarcity of other products, as the date palm cultivation is an important source for many by-products of date palm residues, and an important source of employment as well. Despite the economic importance of date palm trees, most of the date palm farms follow traditional cultivation systems. The traditional date palm cultivation practices are still used in most date palm producing countries, even in modern farms. Where manufacturing primary and secondary materials is still conducted using traditional techniques, also added Dr. Al Yahyaei. This is in addition to the agricultural systems in isolated date palm growing areas such as desert and mountainous oases, are all threatened by climatic and population changes, which creates a threat on food security in these oases.

Dr. Rashid Al Yahyaei, then concluded the lecture by highlighting the great role played by the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation in supporting and developing the date palm cultivation sector and the date production, through the organizing of Jordan International Date Palm Festival, Sudan International Date Palm Festival, and Egypt International Date Palm Festival and the accompanying activities and events. Which actively contributed to the increase of the reputation of the Arab dates and the volume of exports, in addition to the series of international conferences organized by the Award’s General Secretariat.

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