With the farming season approaches, agriculture lovers across the nation have a news to cheer up. A local farm has announced to distribute around 30,000 vegetable seedlings to citizens and expatriates free of cost for kitchen gardens starting from November 1.
The initiative aims at increasing the local agricultural productivity, in line with the government's plan to attain self sufficiency in food production, and it assumes significance due to the ongoing blockade imposed by the siege countries.
'We will start distributing around 30,000 seedlings of various type of vegetables including eggplants, tomatoes, cauliflowers, cabbages and mint among others from November 1, said Ali Ahmad Saad Mansour Al Kaabi, owner of the Global Farm for Agricultural Supplies.
Al Kaabi said that the vegetable seedlings will be provided to citizens and expatriates free of cost. 'Actually, we had planned to distribute the seedlings now, but due to the hot weather it was postponed to November, he added.
Seedlings are grown in greenhouses and then they are taken to open farms and other arable lands and indoor facilities prepared for agricultural produce, the farmers told The Peninsula.
'It takes about 20 days for a seed to become a seedling, said Mohamad Iqbal, working with a big farm in Simaisima told The Peninsula.
'Seedlings take about another 30 days to become ready to harvest. It means the seedlings, to be distributed, will be ready to harvest in the beginning of December, said Iqbal.
Local farms have started sowing the seeds for upcoming agricultural season.
'We are sowing the seeds of tomato, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and eggplants to get the seedlings ready for plantation by mid October, said Iqbal.
To meet the growing demands of local vegetables due to blockade, farmers plan to double the production this year compared to last year.
'We have prepared additional unused lands for cultivating variety of vegetables. For example Last year we had only 30 production lines for tomatoes but this year it is increased to 50 lines likewise the other types of vegetables, said Iqbal.
Iqbal said that one production line measures about 40 metres long and one meter wide. Around 60 to 100 boxes per day can be harvested from a production line depending on the type of vegetables.
Farmers said that they have received unprecedented state supports for agricultural produce after blockade and they are seeing a golden opportunity for investing in agricultural sector this time.
Regarding the impact of siege on the import of agricultural equipment and inputs, a farmer said that Hamad Port has helped removing all obstacles caused by the blockade. And he has successfully imported 18 containers carrying seeds, fertilizers and equipment required for his farm.