The workshop on “Mango and Lime Diseases” organized by Sultan Qaboos University, in association with Vale Company and Federal University of Viçosa (UFV) Brazil, commenced at the College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences at SQU on 12 November under the patronage of Sehikh Dr. Khalid Mohammed Al Hinai, SQU Vice Chancellor’s Advisor for Environmental Affairs and Community service.
Dr. Abdullah Al Sadi, Dean of the College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, in his address, gave an overview of the joint project between SQU, Vale and Federal University of Viçosa in mango and lime farming research, which started in 2010. He outlined the importance of Omani lime or “Limoon Omani” which is an essential an essential ingredient for Omani culinary delights as well as Irani, Iraqi, and Indian dishes. Oman has been exporting this acid lime to different parts of the world in the past.
The Dean said that the partnership between SQU, Vale and Federal University of Viçosa was established to combat two major diseases affecting lime and mango plantations in the country. Witches’ broom disease of lime (WBDL), a very serious disease affecting acid limes, first appeared in Oman around 1975 and has spread extensively in the farms. It is estimated over 1 million lime trees in the country have been killed by WBDL. WBDL kills lime trees in less than 5 years and has become a major limiting factor for lime production in Oman. WBDL later appeared in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and has also been found in Iran,” he said.
“In the case of mango farming, Ceratocystis wilt of mango is the most serious current threat to fruit production in Oman and the region. It was introduced into Oman’s mango farms in the late 1990s. The disease has divested production in the Sultanate killing more than 50% trees in some regions of the country. It has been estimated that around 200000 mango trees have been killed by this disease”. The Dean further said that that the collaborative research has resulted in implementing several effective measures in combating the diseases in Oman’s farms. In addition, it resulted in several visits and field trips, training for students and farmers and capacity building of human resources”, he said.
In his address, Charles Ferreira, Chief of HSSE and Corporate Affairs at Vale, said that Vale always emphasizes on its role in transforming the local communities’ life by seeking partnerships with innovative, scientific and technology institutions around the world such as SQU and VFU. “Vale through its Technological Institute (ITV) constantly aims to facilitate mining for the future, generating and spreading innovative and scientific knowledge while supporting academic studies and partnerships that stimulate research”, he said.
The workshop session consists of presentations on mango and lime projects, diseases, remedies, harvest and commercialization, etc. On the third day of the workshop, the participants will conduct a field trip to mango and lime orchards in Sohar during which researchers from UFV and SQU would lead practical sessions on orchard establishment, pruning, floral induction and grafting.