Speaking to Muscat Daily, Dr Hamoud bin Darwish al Hassani, director basic for Agriculture and Animal Research at MoAF mentioned, “We have registered 374 plant varieties, of which 327 are palm trees, 13 citrus, 25 Omani mango trees, four guava trees, one coconut tree, one pomegranate tree and three banana trees.”
Talking about the value of registering plants in UPOV, he mentioned, “The present status of plant genetic sources in the sultanate indicates that the genetic diversity of several agricultural crops and wild species has deteriorated. The purpose for the deterioration is the replacement of neighborhood varieties with imported ones, the mixing of neighborhood varieties with the imported varieties in the field and the improve of load on leads to the shrinking of pastures.
“Degradation of plant genetic diversity is resulting in loss of farm wealth, which, if exploited properly, can be developed to produce local agricultural crops that withstand various environmental stresses such as drought, water and soil salinity, diseases and pests.”
Dr Hassani added, “UPOV is known for credibility and transparency. We are members of it, so we have the right to register our genetic resources. It is able to protect intellectual property rights of our plant genetic resources to use it optimally and sustainably. It is also a plant gene bank that can be referred to in future research studies related to the development of plant varieties and their resistance to various conditions of environmental stresses.”
After registration these plant varieties in UPOV, Dr Hassani mentioned, the sultanate has turn out to be the sole owner of them.
“In future, we will use it to create our crops with higher productivity that will have a fantastic financial return due to cultivation or sale to other industrial entities.
“These plant varieties are spread throughout Oman and are found in difficult environments, such as mountains and wadis. This is a great effort by our staff who organised campaigns for days to get all information about them.”
Collecting details about the plants was not straightforward, Dr Hassani mentioned.
“Some of plant varieties are unknown, so the specialists interviewed villagers and professionals to gather details about their names and advantages. We have overcome all the challenges due to cooperation among individuals and government agencies.
“We are keen to register new wheat varieties, homogenous in their genetic traits such as Jibreen 1, Bahla wheat 1, Najd wheat 1 and Nizwa wheat 1.”
Information Source: Muscat Daily