Harsh weather conditions in Oman curbs open-field cultivation of high-value vegetable crops. Greenhouse cultivation presents a promising solution to overcome these conditions. This paper presents the status of controlled-environment agriculture in Oman and highlights the associated mechanization potentials. It was reported that greenhouse population increases swiftly due to the subsidy program implemented by the government. Greenhouse cultivation increased water and land productivity by 2 and 12 times, respectively. The dominant crop cultivated in green-houses is cucumber (90%) followed by tomatoes (5-9%). Other crops such as beans, capsicums, strawberry, raspberry and melons are also cultivated. Although the main purpose of greenhouses is crop cultivation, other applications such as poultry production, growth chambers, solar drying and saline water desalination are also practiced. Single-span Quonset-type greenhouses are the most popular greenhouses (89%) while double- and multi-span greenhouses are less popular (11%). The majority of greenhouses are covered with polyethylene films but some farmers started shifting to polycarbonate cladding due to its long-lasting and thermal insulation properties. For environmental control, fan-pad evaporative coolers are used to reduce ambient temperatures. Natural ventilation is only practiced in high tech-greenhouses. Other mechanisms such as shading and painting with reflective materials are implemented to reduce light transmission. Soil-based cultivation practice is more popular (97%) as compared with hydroponic systems (3%). The seasonal profitability of cucumber and tomato crops is USD 744 and 369 per greenhouse, respectively. The use of machinery in greenhouses is very weak due to the limited access inside Quonset greenhouses. However, small-size machinery such as mini- and medium-size tillers are used.
|الصفحات (من إلى)||75-81|
|دورية||AMA, Agricultural Mechanization in Asia, Africa and Latin America|
|حالة النشر||Published - مارس 1 2017|
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