Oman Agriculture and Fishing Overview

Agriculture and fishing

Agriculture and fishing for self-sustaining contribute to a large part of the population’s livelihood. However, the conditions for agriculture are difficult. Only about five percent of the land area is suitable for agriculture, the majority of which is mainly used for livestock management.

  • CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of Oman. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.

For cultivation, only the coastal strips and an area around the city of Nizwa are used inland. The crops are entirely dependent on irrigation, which accounts for most of the country’s water consumption. Along the coast to the north there are irrigation systems with millennial ancestry, so-called aflaj. During the last three decades, large-scale irrigation systems have been built with desalination plants and large ponds.

Most of the crops grown are used by the Omani households, but large quantities of dates are exported. More than half of the cultivated land is used for growing fruit, mainly dates, but also tomatoes, lime, mango, bananas, coconuts, wheat and alfalfa (for animal feed).

In Dhofar you breed livestock; chicken breeding in the country is steadily increasing. Despite major efforts to increase harvests by subsidizing and rationalizing agriculture and utilizing modern technology, Oman has to import a large part of its food. For Oman defense and foreign policy, please check recipesinthebox.

In early 2019, a government project was launched aimed at supporting young Omani who wanted to start agricultural businesses. It gained access to land and expert advice.

Fishing along the 170-mile coast is economically important and a lot of seafood is exported. Special efforts are also being made to develop the fishing industry. Fishing is now heavily regulated as catches have decreased due to fishing.


Agriculture’s share of GDP

2.2 percent (2018)

Percentage of land used for agriculture

4.6 percent (2016)



Oman in military alliance against terrorism

December 29

Oman will be the 41st country to join the alliance to fight terrorism launched by Saudi Arabia in 2016. The country otherwise stays neutral in regional conflicts.

New tours after closing newspaper

December 26

An appeals court cancels the ban on the newspaper al-Zaman (see August 2016) and the judgments against the editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Maamari and his vice are reduced to six months and one year respectively. But the goal goes on. In October 2017, the Supreme Court affirms a decision to close the magazine permanently.

Municipal elections are held

December 25

When local elections are held for the second time in the country, women win seven of the 202 seats (see December 2012).


US Secretary of State visiting

John Kerry meets with the Sultan to discuss a political solution to the conflict in Yemen. He praises Oman for its mediation role, and not least that the country has helped to get the Huthi rebels to release captured Westerners. The week before, an American was brought to Musqat from Yemen’s rebel-controlled capital Sanaa with an Omani military aircraft.


Journalists free from bail

October 11

Editor-in-chief Ibrahim al-Maamari and a colleague are set free after three-year prison sentences have been appealed. The third al-Zaman employee sentenced to a year in prison has already been released. The newspaper is still prevented from coming out.


Intervention against newspaper is criticized

10th August

Press Freedom Organization Reporters Without Borders and the human rights center GHRC condemns the authorities’ efforts against the newspaper al-Zaman. Since the newspaper in an article in late July accused government representatives of corruption and attempts to influence the judiciary, editor Ibrahim al-Maamari and two other employees have been arrested. Now the magazine is also said to have been ordered to close, both in print and on the web, indefinitely.


Report on migrant workers

July 13

Many foreign domestic workers are being abused by their employers, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports, and urges Oman to increase legal protection for migrant workers. In the country, the so-called kafala system is applied, as in other countries on the Arabian Peninsula, according to which foreign workers live heavily dependent on their employers. According to HRW, at least 130,000 women from other countries work in Oman.


More Yemenites from Guantánamo

January 14

An additional ten Yemenites are transferred from Guantánamo to Oman (see January 2015). All have been in the US detention camp for over a decade, without being charged with any crime.

Oman Agriculture and Fishing