Oman to help farmers hit by heavy rains last week

Agriculture minister visiting areas lashed by stormy weather since Wednesday

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Oman's government pledged on Sunday to help farmers whose land and crops were damaged by heavy rain and flooding last week.

Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources Dr Saud Al Habsi visited farmers in areas that were affected by the rains that lashed Oman since Wednesday.

"The rains and floods have damaged some farmlands, and the ministry will do all it can to clear the debris and help the affected areas so the process of farming can continue as soon as possible," Mr Al Habsi was quoted as saying by the state Oman Television.

Farmers said individual damages could run into thousands of rials.

"A quarter of my farm is affected. My date palms have been uprooted, vegetables and fruits washed away and my irrigation system is damaged," Said Al Khaboori, 63, a farmer from Khaburah in Al Batinah region, told The National.

"I am not sure how much exactly it would cost, but it will be not less than 3,000 rials [$7,800] to bring it back to the way it was," Mr Al Khaboori said.

“My farm’s fence broke, the chicken coop is destroyed and the water pumps are broken," said Khamis Al Hassani, 37, a farmer in Quriyat, outside Muscat.

"Also I have a half dozen fruit trees down. This definitely would need at least 2,000 rials to fix."

For some farmers, the loss was mainly from damage to crops that were almost ready for sale.

“I estimate about 2,500 rials' worth of my fruit and vegetables have been ruined. The melons, limes, oranges, lettuce, papayas that were about to ripen are wasted after the strong winds blew them away and destroyed them,” said Khalil Al Abdulsalaam, 44, a farmer from the town of Nizwa in Al Dakhliya region.

The heavy rain also flooded roads, damaged buildings and partially submerged vehicles in the densely populated regions of Al Dakhiliyah and Al Batinah. At least 55 people were injured.