|Last updated: 06/12/2013|
17 June 2013- The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Dr Fuad bin Jaafar al Sajwani announced today that the Sultanate of Oman will organize a “Ministerial Conference on uses of Water for agricultural purposes and Food Crops and Food Security to Address Climate Change and Drought through the International Treaty” on 21 September 2013, just before the opening of the Fifth Session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty.
The announcement was made on the occasion of the 38th Conference of FAO during a meeting that was attended by a group of ministers and high-level representatives of the countries of the Near East and Africa Region attending the Conference in Rome.
“We are delighted to host this significant international event. It expresses interests of the Sultanate in conserving indigenous plant genetic resources, their economic value and the knowledge and rich cultural heritage that have been inherited from generations since ancient times”, said the Minister.
The Chairman of the Governing Body Prof Mr Javad Mozafarii Hashjin (Iran) indicated that the Ministerial Conference represents an important opportunity to draw attention, at international level, to the major issues directly concerning the region. “I commend the initiative of Sultanate of Oman which is worthy of praise since it will raise awareness about the rich agricultural heritage of the Near East region and will promote the role of the International Treaty in the agriculture and environment sections, its vision, mission and goals”, he said.
“Water and drought are increasingly critical issues for plant genetic resources and food production in numerous regions, so we hope that the Ministerial Conference in Oman will allow ministers to discuss concrete actions on how to sustain food security and crop production under drought conditions and under the impact of climate change on smallholder farmers, said Dr Shakeel Bhatti, Secretary of the International Treaty.
At the present time, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources is the only United Nations body specifically dealing with biodiversity for food security and climate change that has developed an international system of exchange and benefit-sharing for genetic resources, which is fully functional worldwide.
Oman actively participated in the negotiations of the International Treaty as early as in 1997 and became a contracting party in July 2004.
Agriculture plays an important role in Sultanate of Oman as the total cultivated area is about 75 977 ha of which 60% is in the coastal areas. Agricultural production includes dates and fruits, vegetables, fodder and field crops, as well as livestock such as cattle, camels, sheep, goats, and poultry.
Agricultural products are among the main non-oil commodities exported by the Sultanate and accounted for nearly 11.70 % of non-oil exports in 2011. The agricultural products that are exported include mainly dried and fresh dates, dried limes, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Over the past years, the Government has made concerted efforts to improve productivity through the introduction of modern techniques as systems and technique of protected crops.