Omani harvests

By | Category: Travel destinations

OmanAs readers will know, Expo 2015 is being held in the Italian city of Milan and millions are expected to visit during the year. The Sultanate of Oman’s pavilion has had more than 570,000 visits in the first month and one reason given is that it tells the story of an unusual, unknown country that sees water and its agricultural traditions as an asset to preserve and as a driver of sustainable development.

“Heritage in Harvest: Harnessing the sea, sun and sand” is the theme. In the first area “Harnessing every drop of water” Oman introduces its strong tradition of water resource management. The seasonal influence of the khareef, the summer monsoon crossing the Indian Ocean, turns the desert region of Dhofar lush-green, this brings the Boswelia (Frankincense Tree) into cultivation resulting in Frankincense. The Kareef also feeds the Aflaj; ancient irrigation system extending into a dense network of canals and dams dating back over 2,000 years – a World Heritage Site.

The country is continuously working to increase its self-sufficiency in food production in a sustainable way and this is the central theme of the pavilion.  The second area “Our rich farming heritage” covers agriculture and crops for the local population and export. From honey to hazelnut, a variety of crops are grown in the mountainous region of Jebel Akhdar, the history of food production in Oman is unique. It is the story of a country that combines technological innovation and sustainable development in the harmony of a Mediterranean tropical climate. Date palms, heart of the Omani agricultural tradition, are the centre of this area with the project “a million palm trees” which should be completed in 2025. In the third area “Treasures of our seas”, visitors can learn about the rich marine environment and the fishing industry, which is still based on traditional techniques. The country, which has declared an intention to double the proceeds going to fishing within the next 30 years, is already involved in the activation of new regulations for the protection of marine areas and encouraging fishing for native species.

The fourth area “Welcome to our home” showcases the authentic and friendly Omani hospitality with the ritual of coffee and dates and sharing tasty and spicy foods inside the sablat, the room of the typical Omani house where the family welcomes guests at parties. The area also features typical local cuisine, with all the ingredients and utensils needed to prepare traditional dishes.

Lest you think that the Omani pavilion is all education, at the end of their visit, guests can sample some traditional Omani dishes and coffee.

For more information on tourism in Oman visit www.omantourism.gov.om

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