Management of saline lands in oman: Learning to live with salinity

Mushtaque Ahmed, Nazir Hussain, Salim Ali Al-Rawahy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

11 Citations (Scopus)


Low rainfall, high temperature, and the past human activities resulted serious salinity problems in today’s agriculture in the Sultanate of Oman. Secondary soil salinity has increased rapidly due to the persistent use of saline groundwater, and the extent is increasing due to increased pumping in Batinah region. The balance existing between total pumping and annual recharge before the 1990s has been disturbed that has resulted in the reduction of crop yields and gradual abandoning of lands for agriculture. In addition, seawater intrusion due to overpumping also occurs. In the year 2005, about 18.9–36.0 × 10 6 US$ was lost due to salinity. To tackle salinity problem, a project was undertaken at Sultan Qaboos University to mitigate soil and water salinity. The project focused on four approaches: soil rehabilitation, biosaline agriculture, fodder production, and integration of fish culture into crop production. The project was initiated with the objectives to develop scientifically sound and environment-friendly guidelines for farmers (a) to sustain cost-effective agricultural production in saline agriculture lands irrigated with saline groundwater, (b) to improve food security of Oman, and (c) to combat desertification in agricultural lands to avoid abandonment. The salt-tolerant varieties of tomatoes, barley, sorghum, and pearl millet have shown promising results for successful cultivation in saline soils. Surface mulching with a thin layer of shredded date palm residues resulted in lesser salt accumulation and more crop yield than other methods. The fodder grown in saline soils using saline irrigation water did not affect growth and meat quality of sheep fed with this fodder. The incorporation of aquaculture in saline areas was proven feasible and profitable.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDevelopments in Soil Salinity Assessment and Reclamation
Subtitle of host publicationInnovative Thinking and Use of Marginal Soil and Water Resources in Irrigated Agriculture
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9789400756847
ISBN (Print)9789400756830
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2013


  • Biosaline agriculture
  • Fish culture
  • Oman
  • Salinity
  • Soil rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)


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