Ibri: In Oman’s Jabal Al Akhdar mountains in the Nizwa province, farmers are currently harvesting the most-sought-after variety of pomegranates in the region.
As a testament to the premium quality of the crop, vendors ran out of stock just three hours after the fruits were put out for sale on the day before Eid.
Mohammad Al Riyami, a pomegranate and grape farm owner, told Gulf News he sold his entire harvest to a trader from the Nizwa province for 3,000 Omani rials (Dh28,508).
Salim Al Hatali, another farm owner, made around 5,000 rials.
Al Hatali says he treats the trees as if they are his family members, adding that it takes “a lot of hard work and love” to harvest the crop.
The pomegranate season in Oman starts from September 1 and lasts until the end of October.
The Jabal Al Akhdar mountains are part of the Hajar mountain range, an approximately two-hour drive from Muscat. Cooler temperatures in the mountains allow all types of fruits and nuts to flourish, including pomegranates, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, plums, figs, almonds, walnuts, pears and apricots.
There are around 23,000 pomegranate trees in Jabal Al Akhdar alone, according to figures from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
The crop is mostly exported to markets in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar who buy pomegranate in bulk.
Ahmad Al Hinai, a trader from Nizwa, told Gulf News that he makes huge profits from the sale of pomegranate outside the country.
“There is a huge demand for the fruit in neighbouring countries. I eagerly await this season every year as I make at least 8,000 riyals,” said Al Hinai.
Since the pomegranate season lasts only two months, Oman imports pomegranates worth more than $2 million from Jordan, Iran, Yemen, India and Egypt every year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
The Omani pomegranate is known for its light red colour, sweet taste and soft seeds.
Some pomegranates can weigh up to 1kg.
The minimum price for one pomegranate is 1 rial.
Pomegranates contain high levels of antioxidants, polyphenols and flavonoids, which protect from cancer and other diseases like heart problems and atherosclerosis as well as stomach illness.