Focus on Improving Agricultural Mechanization
The Department of Soils, Water & Agricultural Engineering (SWAE) of the College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences at Sultan Qaboos University organized a workshop and exhibition on “Adoption of New Technologies for Improving Agricultural Mechanization in Oman” today. The workshop was held under the patronage of Dr. Saif bin Rashid Al- Shaqsi, Director-General of the Directorate General of One Million Date Palm Tree Project at the Diwan of Royal Court.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Dr. Talal Al Shikaili, Assistant Professor in the Department said that agricultural mechanization is imperative to ensure increased productivity in the farming sector in the Sultanate. “Agricultural implements and machines enable the farmers to employ the power judiciously for production purposes. Agricultural machines increase productivity of land and labor by meeting timeliness of farm operations and increase work out-put per unit time. Besides its paramount contribution to the multiple cropping and diversification of agriculture, mechanization also enables efficient utilization of inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and irrigation water in the country. Hence keeping the stakeholders updated about agricultural mechanization is important for the country”, he said.
Stressing on the relevance of the workshop theme, Hon. Dr. Rashid Al Yahayi, the Dean of the College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences, observed that sustainable mechanization considers technological, economic, social, environmental and cultural aspects when contributing to the sustainable development of the food and agricultural sector. Dr. Hemanatha Jayasuriya, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of SWAE, outlined the extension activities of his department and its links with the government and private sector organizations that ensures proper applications of learned and produced knowledge and skills of and graduates in agriculture and related fields.
Delivering the keynote address, Eng. Saleh Mohammed Al Shanfari, CEO of Oman Food Investment Holding Company, underscored the need for greater academia-industry linkage in all fields particularly in agricultural and food processing industry in the Sultanate. “He said that knowledge has no value unless it is shared and focused on current needs of the country. Therefore, bridges need to be built, to connect these knowledge-islands to the clusters of industries and the community. This is particularly important in the farming sector and the food industry in Oman considering the food security of the region in the backdrop of limited resources for farming”, he said.