FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

Omani family farmers: collective action, collective support

The vast majority of Omani farmers are small-scale family farmers and they play an important role in achieving food security and improving livelihoods.

However, they face a number of barriers, including high transaction costs and access to productive services and assets, such as financial services and social protection.

As a solution to this dilemma, Omani farmers have resorted to collective action in order to ease their burdens. Collective action in the form of farmer groups is not new to the Sultanate of Oman. Its roots are formed by the peoples’ beliefs, faith, traditions, and culture.  In fact, Oman enjoys a longstanding history of traditional forms of collective action around the management of natural resources exemplified by the Aflaj system and various fisheries organizations.

Over the years, Omani farmers’ needs have evolved to a point where a stronger collective action was required to find solutions and provide a common platform to share experiences and services with a view to developing the sector in a coordinated manner. As a result, the Al Batinah Farmers’ association was created in 2005 in Al Suweik, as Oman’s first legally recognized farmer organization in 2009.

The need to promote the development of farmer organizations was clearly indicated in Oman’s Agriculture and Rural Development Strategy (SARDS 2040) in 2016, and thus the farmers’ association expanded its scope in 2017 and began operating at national level, bridging together all the regional associations, under one umbrella, which is now called The Omani Farmers Association (OFA).

“Collective action in the form of farmer organizations can help small scale farmers overcome their common obstacles through innovative organizational arrangements that broaden their capabilities thanks to the services that these organizations provide to their member farmers.” Said Saed Al Kharusi, Chairperson of the Board of Omani Agriculture Association. 

OFA accounts for almost 300 members in all Oman, who are all family farmers. The organization, which has developed a reputation for adopting modern agricultural technology, is proving to be exemplary in providing a range of services to its members including provision of information on markets inside and outside the Sultanate, expert advice, financial credit, inputs, and capacity development trainings. The Omani Farmers Association thereby solidified itself as the undisputed leader in its field and continues to display an enduring commitment to the development of family farming in the Sultanate, where its experiences are being replicated in forming producer organizations in other regions of Oman.


23/11/2020

Share this page