Global diversified mining company partners with leading academic institutions in Oman and Brazil to research cutting-edge technologies to improve cultivation of Citrus and Mango trees
Muscat, May 20th 2012 – Vale in partnership with Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) and University Federal Viçosa (UFV), the leading agricultural educational institute in Brazil and South America, are exploring advanced biotechnologies and cutting-edge preventative measures to improve the cultivation of Mango and Lime trees in Al Batinah Governorate.
A delegation from SQU led by H.E. Ali Al Bimani recently visited Vale’s Industrial Complex in Liwa where the two parties discussed the progression and latest developments in the study of the main diseases affecting the crops including the Mango Wilt and Witches’ Broom to identify measures for the establishment of a robust and sustainable agricultural sector.
“With over 60 years of experience in dealing with Mango Wilt and Lime diseases, Brazil has learned to manage these challenges and develop an internationally renowned Mango production industry. We realized the similarities between the two nations and sought to create a cross-border collaboration that will benefit the communities surrounding our project by instituting a more productive, better managed and highly efficient cropping regime,” said Marcos Beluco, Vale Country Manager. “At Vale, we view ourselves as a catalyst for local sustainable development. We therefore invest in the responsible, integrated management of economic, environmental and social challenges to produce prosperity where we operate, creating a positive legacy throughout the life cycle of our activities.”
The four-year investigative research aims to combine the technological know-how from Brazil with in-depth knowledge of the local climate, growth patterns and techniques from the Sultanate’s experts. The study will determine the best practices for efficient crop irrigation, nutrition and pruning while also investigating possible ways to better manage the diseases by screening rootstocks and varieties that resist the pathogens and tolerate the weather conditions in Oman. To that end, a delegation from Sultan Qaboos University is scheduled to visit UFV later on in the year to analyze the findings from the research and set the action plan for the next year.
Commenting on this strategic partnership, H.E. Dr. Ali Al Bimani, Vice Chancellor of Sultan Qaboos University said, “Since 1998, Mango produce in Oman has been overcome by the Wilt disease spreading rapidly and killing over 60% of trees in Al Batinah alone. The culmination of this research will provide us with the means and knowledge to empower farmers to re-establish their lands and increase productivity for higher commercial farming.”
H.H. Dr. Mona Al Said, Assistant Vice-Chancellor for External Cooperation at Sultan Qaboos University said, “Our cooperation with Vale and UFV is one of our collaborative milestones and we will see it through to fruition.”
Building national capacities, Vale, in coordination with the Office of External Cooperation at SQU and various government organizations, is preparing for a group of local farmers from Al Batinah to travel to Brazil and observe first-hand the techniques and technologies adopted by Brazilian farmers. In addition, a student exchange program between the educational institutions will commence in July of this year where youth will be provided with the opportunity to train and gain extensive agricultural experience on grass-root levels.