According to research by Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), 94% of Oman’s groundwater is used by agriculture, with farms in the Al Batinah region alone accounting for 36%.Overuse of public wells by farms with diesel or electric pumps has lowered the water table in some areas, causing saltwater intrusion.Date palm plantations are also making smarter use of water.
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Traditional methods would result in 10-12 offshoots per tree.
The process takes two years, but the result is that the new saplings are identical to the mother tree.
Scientists say the use of SDI reduced water consumption by 60% in a plantation in Saudi Arabia, while also boosting fruit yields by 25%.
The government is hoping that the Million Date Palm Plantation Project will serve as a focus for investors wishing to build processing plants.
The palms, which typically live for 30-40 years, reach their peak at age 10, when each tree can be expected to produce 100 kg.