Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Agriculture


Over the past decades, the agricultural development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has drastically improved. Although Saudi Arabia is widely thought of as a desert, it has regions where the climate has favoured agriculture. The government in particular has aided with this process by converting large areas of desert into agricultural fields. By implementing major irrigation projects and adopting large scale mechanization, this has progressed in developing agriculture in Saudi Arabia, adding previously barren areas to the stock of cultivatable land.


Today, agriculture in Saudi Arabia is focused on the export of wheat, dates, dairy products, eggs, fish, poultry, fruits, vegetables and flowers to markets around the world.  The government of the nation is heavily involved in the agriculture industry, and the ministry of agriculture is primarily responsible for the agricultural policies in the nation. The private sector as well plays a role in the nation, as the government offers long-term interest free loans, along with low-cost water, fuel, electricity and duty-free imports of raw materials and machinery. During the 1970s and 1980s, the government undertook a massive restructuring of agriculture in Saudi Arabia. The stated objectives were food security through self-sufficiency and improvement of rural incomes. Although successful in raising domestic output of several important crops and foodstuffs through the introduction of modern agricultural techniques, the agricultural development program has not entirely achieved these objectives. In regard to self-sufficiency, the kingdom produced a limited surplus, sufficient to export some quantities of food. However, if the entire production process were considered, the import of fertilizers, equipment, and labor have made the Kingdom even more dependent on foreign inputs to bring food to the average Saudi household.

Two patterns of income distribution emerged: traditional agricultural regions did not benefit from the development program, and the government's financial support led to the establishment of large-scale agricultural production units. Some of these were managed and operated by foreign entities and owned by wealthy individuals and large businesses. From an environmental viewpoint, the program had a less than satisfactory impact. Not only has it caused a serious drain on the kingdom's water resources, drawing mainly from non-renewable aquifers, but it has also required the use of massive amounts of chemical fertilizers to boost yields. In 1992 Saudi agricultural strategy was only sustainable as long as the government maintained a high level of direct and indirect subsidies, a drain on its budget and external accounts.

The contribution of agriculture to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1984 was 3.3%. In 2001, it increased to 5.1%, but it was due to decline in oil revenues.
Traditional agriculture and pastoral Nomad-ism.
In the past, the bulk of agricultural production was concentrated in a few limited areas. The produce was largely retained by these communities although some surplus was sold to the cities. Nomads played a crucial role in this regard, shipping foods and other goods between the widely dispersed agricultural areas. Livestock rearing was shared between the sedentary communities and nomads, who also used it to supplement their precarious livelihoods.

The water supply in Saudi Arabia, and specifically the lack of water has always been the major constraint on agriculture and the determining factor on where cultivation occurred. The kingdom has no lakes or rivers. Rainfall is slight and irregular over most of the country. Only in the southwest, in the mountains of 'Asir, close to the Yemen border and accounting for three percent of the land area, was rainfall sufficient to support regular crops. This region plus the southern Tihamah coastal plains sustained subsistence farming. Cropping in the rest of the country was scattered and dependent on irrigation. Along the western coast and in the western highlands, groundwater from wells and springs provided adequate water for self-supporting farms and, to some extent, for commercial production. Moving east, in the central and northern parts of the interior, Najd and An Nafud, some groundwater allowed limited farming. The Eastern Province supported the most extensive plantation economy. The major oasis centered around Al Qatif, which enjoyed high water tables, natural springs, and relatively good soils.

Historically, the limited arable land and the near absence of grassland forced those raising livestock into a nomadic pattern to take advantage of what forage was available. Only in summer, the year's driest time, did the nomad keep his animals around an oasis or well for water and forage. The Bedouin developed special skills knowing where rain had fallen and forage was available to feed their animals and where they could find water en route to various forage areas.

Traditionally, Bedouin were not self-sufficient but needed some food and materials from agricultural settlements. The near constant movement required to feed their animals limited other activities, such as weaving. The settled farmers and traders needed the nomads to tend camels. Nomads would graze and breed animals belonging to sedentary farmers in return for portions of the farmers' produce. Bedouin groups contracted to provide protection to the agricultural and market areas they frequented in return for such provisions as dates, cloth, and equipment. Bedouin further supplemented their income by taxing caravans for passage and protection through their territory.

Bedouin themselves needed protection. Operating in small independent groups of a few households, they were vulnerable to raids by other nomads and therefore formed larger groups, such as tribes. The tribe was responsible for avenging attacks on any of its members. Tribes established territories that they defended vigorously. Within the tribal area, wells and springs were found and developed. Generally, the developers of a water source, such as a well, retained rights to it unless they abandoned it. This system created problems for nomads because many years might elapse between visits to a well they had dug. If people from another tribe just used the well, the first tribe could frequently establish that the well was in territory where they had primary rights; but if another tribe improved the well, primary rights became difficult to establish. By the early twentieth century, control over land, water rights, and intertribal and intratribal relationships were highly developed and complex.
Modern agriculture
Nomadic pastoralism declined as a result of several political and economic forces. Sedentarization was a means of imposing political control over various tribal groupings in the Arabian Peninsula. New legal structures such as the 1968 Public Lands Distribution Ordinance created novel land relations and spurred the dissolution of the Bedouin way of life. The establishment of an activist modern state provided incentives for large numbers of Saudi citizens to enter the regular, wage-based, or urban commercial employment. Moreover, modern technology and new transport networks undermined the primitive services that the Bedouin offered the rest of the economy.

Until the 1970s, sedentary agriculture saw few changes and declined in the face of foreign imports, urban drift, and lack of investment. The use of modern inputs remained relatively limited. Introduction of mechanical pumping in certain areas led to a modest level of commercial production, usually in locations close to urban centers. Nevertheless, regional distribution of agricultural activity remained relatively unchanged, as did the average holding size and patterns of cultivation.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, the government undertook a multifaceted program to modernize and commercialize agriculture, in order to improve the nation's agricultural industry. Indirect support involved substantial expenditures on infrastructure, which included electricity supply, irrigation, drainage, secondary road systems, and other transportation facilities for distributing and marketing produce. Land distribution was also an integral part of the program. The 1968 Public Lands Distribution Ordinance allocated 5 to 100 hectares of fallow land to individuals at no cost, up to 400 hectares to companies and organizations, and a limit of 4,000 hectares for special projects. The beneficiaries were required to develop a minimum of 25 percent of the land within a set period of time (usually two to five years); thereafter, full ownership was transferred. In FY 1989, the total area distributed stood at more than 1.5 million hectares. Of this total area 7,273 special agricultural projects accounted for just under 860,000 hectares, or 56.5 percent; 67,686 individuals received just under 400,000 hectares or 26.3 percent; 17 agricultural companies received slightly over 260,000 hectares, or 17.2 percent. Judging from these statistics, the average fallow land plot given to individuals was 5.9 hectares, 118 hectares to projects, and 15,375 hectares to companies, the latter being well over the limit of 400 hectares specified in the original plans.

The government also mobilized substantial financial resources to support the raising of crops and livestock during the 1970s and 1980s. The main institutions involved were the Ministry of Agriculture and Water, the Saudi Arabian Agricultural Bank (SAAB) and the Grain Silos and Flour Mills Organization (GSFMO). SAAB provided interest-free loans to farmers; during FY 1989, for example, 26.6 percent of loans were for well drilling and casing, 23 percent for agricultural projects, and the balance for the purchase of farm machinery, pumps, and irrigation equipment. SAAB also provided subsidies for buying other capital inputs.

GSFMO implemented the official procurement program, purchasing locally produced wheat and barley at guaranteed prices for domestic sales and exports. The procurement price was steadily reduced during the 1980s because of massive overproduction and for budgetary reasons, but it was substantially higher than international prices. By the late 1980s, the procurement price for wheat, for example, was three times the international price. Although quantity restrictions were implemented to limit procurement, pressures from a growing farm lobby led to ceiling-price waivers. Moreover, the government encountered considerable fraud with imports being passed off as domestic production. To control this situation, the government has granted import monopolies for some agricultural products to the GSFMO, while procurement and import subsidies on certain crops have been shifted to encourage a more diversified production program. Finally, agricultural and water authorities provided massive subsidies in the form of low-cost desalinated water, and electric companies were required to supply power at reduced charges.

The program prompted a huge response from the private sector, with average annual growth rates well above those programmed. These growth rates were underpinned by a rapid increase in land brought under cultivation and agricultural production. Private investments went mainly into expanding the area planted for wheat. Between 1983 and 1990, the average annual increase of new land brought under wheat cultivation rose by 14 percent. A 35 percent increase in yields per ton during this period further boosted wheat output; total production rose from 1.4 million tons per year in FY 1983 to 3.5 million tons in FY 1989. To put the sheer volume in perspective, exports were lifted to the point where Saudi Arabia was the sixth largest wheat exporter in the early 1990s.

Other food grains also benefited from private investment. For example, output growth rates for sorghum and barley accelerated even faster than wheat during the 1980s, although the overall amount produced was much smaller. During the 1980s, farmers also experimented with new varieties of vegetables and fruits but with only modest success. More traditional crops, like onions and dates, did not fare as well and their output declined or remained flat.

In the 1970s, increasing incomes in urban areas stimulated the demand for meat and dairy products, but by the early 1980s government programs were only partially successful in increasing domestic production. Bedouin continued to raise a large number of sheep and goats. Payments for increased flocks, however, had not resulted in a proportionate increase of animals for slaughter. Some commercial feedlots for sheep and cattle had been established as well as a few modern ranches, but by the early 1980s much of the meat consumed was imported. Although the meat supply was still largely imported in the early 1990s, domestic production of meat had grown by 33 percent between 1984 and 1990, from 101,000 tons to 134,000 tons. This increase, however, masked the dominant role of traditional farms in supplying meat. Although new projects accounted for some of the rapid growth during the 1980s, a sharp decline of roughly 74 percent in beef stock production by specialized projects during 1989 resulted in only a 15 percent fall in meat output. This reversal also highlighted the problems in introducing modern commercial livestock-rearing techniques to the Kingdom.

Commercial poultry farms, however, greatly benefited from government incentives and grew rapidly during the 1980s. Chickens were usually raised in controlled climatic conditions. Despite the doubling of output, as a result of the rapid rise in chicken consumption, which had become a major staple of the Saudi diet, domestic production constituted less than half of total demand. Egg production also increased rapidly during the 1980s. The numbers of broiler chickens increased from 143 million in 1984 to 270 million in 1990, while production of eggs increased from 1,852 million in 1984 to 2,059 million in 1990.

Fishing, however, was an underdeveloped aspect of the Saudi economy despite the abundance of fish and shellfish in coastal waters. The major reasons for the small size of this sector were the limited demand for fish and the comparative lack of fish marketing and processing facilities. Iraqi actions in releasing crude oil into the Persian Gulf during the Gulf War caused appreciable damage to fish and wildlife in the gulf. Data concerning postwar catches were not available in late 1992, but in 1989 the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimated Saudi Arabia's total catch at more than 53,000 tons.


Geography



The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a country situated in Southwest Asia, the largest country of Arabia, bordering the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea, north of Yemen. Its extensive coastlines on the Persian Gulf and Red Sea provide great leverage on shipping (especially crude oil) through the Persian Gulf and Suez Canal. The kingdom occupies 80% of theArabian Peninsula. Most of the country's boundaries with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman, and the Republic of Yemen (formerly two separate countries: the Yemen Arab Republic or North Yemen; and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen or South Yemen) are undefined, so the exact size of the country remains unknown. The Saudi government estimate is at 2,217,949 square kilometres, while other reputable estimates vary between 2,149,690 and 2,240,000 sq. kilometres. Less than 1% of the total area is suitable for cultivation, and in the early 1990s, population distribution varied greatly among the towns of the eastern and western coastal areas, the densely populated interior oases, and the vast, almost empty deserts.
Saudi Arabia is bounded by seven countries and three bodies of water. To the west, the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea form a coastal border of almost 1,800 kilometres that extends to the southern part of Yemen and follows a mountain ridge for approximately 320 kilometres to the vicinity of Najran. This section of the border with Yemen was demarcated in 1934 and is one of the few clearly-defined borders with a neighbouring country. The Saudi border running southeast from Najran, however, is still undetermined. The undemarcated border became an issue in the early 1990s, when oil was discovered in the area and Saudi Arabia objected to the commercial exploration by foreign companies on behalf of Yemen. In the summer of 1992, representatives of Saudi Arabia and Yemen met in Geneva to discuss settlement of the border issue.


To the north, Saudi Arabia is bounded by Jordan, Iraq, and Kuwait. The northern boundary extends almost 1,400 kilometers from the Gulf of Aqaba on the west to Ras al Khafji on the Persian Gulf. In 1965 Saudi Arabia and Jordan agreed to boundary demarcations involving an exchange of small areas of territory that gave Jordan some essential additional land near Aqaba, its only port.

In 1922 Abd al Aziz ibn Abd ar Rahman Al Saud (r. 1902–53) and British officials representing Iraqi interests signed the Treaty of Mohammara, which established the boundary between Iraq and the future Saudi Arabia. Later that year, the Al Uqair Convention signed by the two parties agreed to the creation of a diamond-shaped Iraq–Saudi Arabia Neutral Zone of approximately 7,000 square kilometers, adjacent to the western tip of Kuwait, within which neither Iraq nor Saudi Arabia would build permanent dwellings or installations. The agreement was designed to safeguard water rights in the zone for Bedouin of both countries. In May 1938, Iraq and Saudi Arabia signed an additional agreement regarding the administration of the zone. Forty-three years later, Saudi Arabia and Iraq signed an agreement that defined the border between the two countries and provided for the division of the neutral zone between them. The agreement effectively dissolved this neutral zone. The boundary between Abd 'al-Aziz's territories of Najd and the Eastern Province and the British protectorate of Kuwait was first regulated by the Al Uqair Convention in 1922. In an effort to avoid territorial disputes, another diamond-shaped Divided Zone of 5,790 square kilometers directly south of Kuwait was established. In 1938 oil was discovered in Kuwait's southern Burqan fields, and both countries contracted with foreign oil companies to perform exploration work in the Divided Zone. After years of discussions, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait reached an agreement in 1965 that divided the zone geographically, with each country administering its half of the zone. The agreement guaranteed that the rights of both parties to the natural resources in the whole zone would continue to be respected after each country had annexed its half of the zone in 1966.

Saudi Arabia's eastern boundary follows the Persian Gulf from Ras 'al Khafji to the peninsula of Qatar, whose border with Saudi Arabia was determined in 1965. The Saudi border with the state of Oman, on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, runs through the Empty Quarter (Rub 'al-Khali). The border demarcation was defined by a 1990 agreement between Saudi Arabia and Oman that included provisions for shared grazing rights and water rights. The border through 'Al Buraymi Oasis, located near the conjunction of the frontiers of Oman, Abu Dhabi (one of the emirates of the UAE) and Saudi Arabia, has triggered extensive dispute among the three states since the Treaty of Jeddah in 1927. In a 1975 agreement with Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi accepted sovereignty over six villages in the 'Al Buraymi Oasis and the sharing of the rich Zararah oil field. In return, Saudi Arabia obtained an outlet to the Persian Gulf through Abu Dhabi.

Saudi Arabia's maritime claims include a twelve-nautical-mile (22 km) territorial limit along its coasts. The country also claims many small islands as well as some seabeds and subsoils beyond the twelve-nautical-mile (22 km) limit.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Hitory

The History of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia traces its roots back to the earliest civilizations of the Arabian Peninsula. Over the centuries, the peninsula has played an important role in history as an ancient trade center and as the birthplace of Islam, one of the world’s major monotheistic religions.



Since King Abdulaziz Al-Saud established the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, its transformation has been astonishing.
In a few short decades, the Kingdom has turned itself from a desert nation to a modern, sophisticated state and a major player on the international stage.
Early HistoryThe first concrete evidence of human presence in the Arabian Peninsula dates back 15,000 to 20,000 years. Bands of hunter-gatherers roamed the land, living off wild animals and plants.
As the European ice cap melted during the last Ice Age, some 15,000 years ago, the climate in the peninsula became dry. Vast plains once covered with lush grasslands gave way to scrub land and deserts, and wild animals vanished. River systems also disappeared, leaving in their wake the dry river beds (wadis) that are found in the peninsula today.
This climate change forced humans to move into the lush mountain valleys and oases. No longer able to survive as hunter-gatherers, they had to develop another means of survival. As a result, agriculture developed – first in Mesopotamia, then the Nile River Valley, and eventually spreading across the Middle East.

The development of agriculture brought other advances. Pottery allowed farmers to store food. Animals, including goats, cattle, sheep, horses and camels, were domesticated, and people abandoned hunting altogether. These advances made intensive farming possible. In turn, settlements became more permanent, leading to the foundations of what we call civilization – language, writing, political systems, art and architecture.
An Ancient Trade Center
Located between the two great centers of civilization, the Nile River Valley and Mesopotamia, the Arabian Peninsula was the crossroads of the ancient world. Trade was crucial to the area’s development; caravan routes became trade arteries that made life possible in the sparsely populated peninsula.

The people of the peninsula developed a complex network of trade routes to transport agricultural goods highly sought after in Mesopotamia, the Nile Valley and the Mediterranean Basin.  These items included almonds from Taif, dates from the many oases, and aromatics such as frankincense and myrrh from the Tihama plain.
Spices were also important trade items. They were shipped across the Arabian Sea from India and then transported by caravan.
The huge caravans traveled from what is now Oman and Yemen, along the great trade routes running through Saudi Arabia’s Asir Province and then through Makkah and Madinah, eventually arriving at the urban centers of the north and west.
The people of the Arabian Peninsula remained largely untouched by the political turmoil in Mesopotamia, the Nile Valley and the eastern Mediterranean. Their goods and services were in great demand regardless of which power was dominant at the moment – Babylon, Egypt, Persia, Greece or Rome. In addition, the peninsula’s great expanse of desert formed a natural barrier that protected it from invasion by powerful neighbors.
The Birth of Islam
Around the year 610, Muhammad, a native of the thriving commercial center of Makkah, received a message from God (in Arabic, Allah) through the Angel Gabriel. As more revelations bid him to proclaim the oneness of God universally, the Prophet Muhammad’s following grew.
In 622, learning of an assassination plot against him, the Prophet led his followers to the town of Yathrib, which was later named Madinat Al-Nabi (City of the Prophet) and now known simply as Madinah. This was the Hijrah, or migration, which marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar.
Within the next few years, several battles took place between the followers of the Prophet Muhammad and the pagans of Makkah. By 628, when Madinah was entirely in the hands of the Muslims, the Prophet had unified the tribes so successfully that he and his followers reentered Makkah without bloodshed.
The Islamic Empire
Less than 100 years after the birth of Islam, the Islamic Empire extended from Spain to parts of India and China. Although the political centers of power had moved out of the Arabian Peninsula, trade flourished in the area.
Also, a large number of pilgrims began regularly visiting the peninsula, with some settling in the two holy cities of Makkah and Madinah. These pilgrims facilitated the exchange of ideas and cultures between the people of the peninsula and other civilizations of the Arab and Muslim worlds.
The emergence of Arabic as the language of international learning was another major factor in the cultural development of the Arabian Peninsula. The Muslim world became a center for learning and scientific advances during what is known as the “Golden Age.” Muslim scholars made major contributions in many fields, including medicine, biology, philosophy, astronomy, arts and literature. Many of the ideas and methods pioneered by Muslim scholars became the foundation of modern sciences.

The Islamic Empire thrived well into the 17th century, when it broke up into smaller Muslim kingdoms. The Arabian Peninsula gradually entered a period of relative isolation, although Makkah and Madinah remained the spiritual heart of the Islamic world and continued to attract pilgrims from many countries.


Saudi Arabia - Introduction

Saudi Arabia, officially known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia  is the largest Arab state in Western Asia by land area (approximately 2,150,000 km2 (830,000 sq mi), constituting the bulk of theArabian Peninsula) and the second-largest in the Arab world (after Algeria). It is bordered by Jordan and Iraq to the north, Kuwaitto the northeast, QatarBahrain and the United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the southeast, and Yemen in the south. It is the only nation with both a Red Sea coast and a Persian Gulf coast. Its population is estimated to consist of 16 million citizens and an additional nine million registered foreign expatriates and two million illegal immigrants.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded by Abdulaziz bin Saud (known for most of his career as Ibn Saud) in 1932, although the conquests which eventually led to the creation of the Kingdom began in 1902 when he captured Riyadh, the ancestral home of his family, the House of Saud, referred to in Arabic as Al Saud. The country has been an absolute monarchy since its inception. It describes itself as being Islamic and is highly influenced by Wahhabism. Saudi Arabia is sometimes called "the Land of the Two Holy Mosques" in reference to Al-Masjid al-Haram (in Mecca), and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (in Medina), the two holiest places in Islam.
With the world's second largest oil reserves and the world's sixth largest natural gas reserves, the Kingdom is categorized as ahigh income economy with 19th highest GDP in the world Being the world's largest oil exporter is the basis for its position as one of the 20 most powerful countries in the world, it also ranked as a regional power and maintains regional hegemony in theArabian peninsula. It is a member of Gulf Cooperation CouncilOrganisation of Islamic CooperationG-20 major economies andOPEC. Its economy is largely backed by its oil industry, which accounts for more than 95% of exports and 70% of government revenue, although the share of the non-oil economy has been growing recently. This has facilitated the transformation of the underdeveloped desert kingdom into one of the world's wealthiest nations, such as the creation of a welfare state.
Saudi Arabia has long been criticized for its human rights record. Human rights issues that have attracted strong criticism include the extremely disadvantaged position of women (see Women in Saudi society below), religious discrimination, the lack of religious freedom and the activities of the religious police (see Religion below). Between 1996 and 2000, Saudi Arabia acceded to four UN human rights conventions and, in 2004, the government approved the establishment of the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR), staffed by government employees, to monitor their implementation. To date, the activities of the NSHR have been limited and doubts remain over its neutrality and independence. Saudi Arabia remains one of the very few countries in the world not to accept the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In response to the continuing criticism of its human rights record, the Saudi government points to the special Islamic character of the country, and asserts that this justifies a different social and political order.

Music of Oman


Rank and Economy

The rank of Oman from the poorest is 141 and from the richest is 59 whose gdp per capita in 2003 using atlas method is 7,830 $. In other methods IMF,WB, and CIA using nominal methods in 2007, 2007 and 2008,
rank/measure........................................rank/measure.....................................rank/measure
40/15,714........................................ .....-/na.................................................48/12,492

Oman’s economic freedom score is 68.1, making its economy the 45th freest in the 2013 Index. Its score is 0.2 point higher than last year, with significant declines in trade freedom, freedom from corruption, and labor freedom mitigated by a major improvement in the control of government spending. Oman is ranked 5th out of 15 countries in the Middle East/North Africa region, and its overall score is above the world and regional averages.
Oman is a small, open economy in which the energy sector has been the most important engine of growth. With competitively low tax rates in place, foreign investment is generally welcome in many sectors. Recognizing the importance of developing a more dynamic entrepreneurial environment, Oman has pursued regulatory reforms and modernization of the economy.
Despite some progress, Oman’s transition to greater openness and flexibility has been sluggish and largely uneven. Overall economic freedom remains constrained by state involvement in the private sector and public enterprises. The lack of market competition has inflated price levels, and reliance on the state-owned oil sector has left the economy vulnerable to external shocks. The rule of law has been relatively well maintained, but the judiciary remains vulnerable to political interference.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Industry

By establishing the industrial estates, the government has sought to diversify the source of income and promote business environment in the sultanate, avail employment opportunities for Omanis, in addition to attracting local and foreign investment. The first industrial estate was established in 1983 at  Rusayl Industrial Estate in Muscat governorate, which was inaugurated officially in 1985.
Many industrial estates were established in a number of governorates and regions.
PEIE was established following Royal Decree No 4/93 with the aim of managing, operating and developing the industrial estates in the sultanate, including Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM) and Al Mazunah Free Zone.
PEIE seeks to achieve a number of strategic goals and developmental infrastructure for attracting foreign investments to the sultanate, nationalising national capital, enhancing the private sector to contribute towards achieving the sustainable and overall socio-economic development, introducing new technology and availing manpower with technical skills.
It also seeks to create new employment opportunities, encourage exports and develop international trade, establish export-based industries and activate the economic sectors in the sultanate, such as transport, banking and tourism.
PEIE is looking after the interests of industrial investors by establishing the Industrial Innovation Centre at Rusayl Industrial Estate, thanks to the cooperation between PEIE and The Research Council (TRC).
The centre also seeks to disseminate the culture of innovation in the industrial sector for access to local and global markets alike, specify the industrial areas that need research and innovation, make available all data, studies, researches and scientific and practical consultations to industrialists, look after industrial innovation and creativity in the sultanate, study and analyse challenges facing industries that could slow down development in the sultanate.
PEIE seeks to promote national products among local consumers. To this end, it annually holds the  Omani Product campaign in a bid to convince local consumers of national products and encourage them to buy them. This campaign is organised in collaboration with a number of public and private establishments.
Realising the importance of free zones in creating new markets for local products, the sultanate established two free zones, namely Salalah Free Zone and the Al Mazunah Free Zone, which are managed by PEIE. The Al Mazunah Free Zone is bordering one of the major consumer markets in the region –  Yemen.
PEIE is developing the Al Mazunah Free Zone to serve the national economy in general and the industrial sector in particular and to be a window for Omani products for markets in Yemen and Horn of Africa. .
PEIE currently implements a number of major projects through private sector partnership.
It prepares plans for a number of projects that will be promoted locally and internationally.
Al Mazunah is located in the southwest of the sultanate, 4km away from the Yemeni border -  14km from the city of Shahn in Yemen. This location gives it a distinguished commercial and investment dimension, where it can be deemed an investment gate for Yemen and Oman, especially with the investment facilities offered to non-Omani investors.
The free zone project spreads over a huge area, reaching about 3mn sqm. The project contains the necessary facilities that constitute the a zone, including a commercial mall, hotels, car dealers, warehouses, administrative centre, showrooms, external clinics, secondary service centre, mosque, commercial stores, animal wealth, multi-purpose areas, green zones parking and others.
This project is supported by  massive and modern infrastructure, including road networks, bridges, drainages, Internet, phone lines and mobiles networks, in addition to other facilities and services. There are a lot of special characteristics that attract investors to invest in Al Mazunah Project, namely its proximity to the Yemeni border.   It offers easy use of Yemeni manpower without the need to obtain visas or to carry out the complex routine matters. It offers more freedom when it comes to hiring Omani manpower, (only ten per cent instead of 30 per cent).
Also, the unique and outstanding exemption packages include tax exemption for 30 years.

Agriculture

Agriculture in Oman has been important for centuries. The government's economic development policy emphasizes the expansion of such non-oil sectors as agriculturefishing,industry, and mining in its bid to diversify the economy and diminish its dependence on oil exports. The goal is to establish a sustainable economic base in preparation for the time when hydrocarbon reserves are depleted. The government launched several economic campaigns, naming 1988 and 1989 as Years of Agriculture and 1991 and 1992 as Years of Industry. Through these campaigns, the government has enc.uraged private-sector investment by allocating generous amounts of cash support for private industry to be disbursed mainly through official development banks. For example, the Oman Bank for Agriculture and Fisheries, created in 1981, extends loans at concessionary rates to individuals for whom farming or fishing is the principal activity. The bank acts as a distributive institution, receiving an interest subsidy from the government. In 1990 there were 1,308 loans, totaling RO4.7 million. Development programs also incorporate the government's policy of indigenization, with a large component of funds.
Oman has five distinct agricultural regions. Going roughly from north to south, they include the Musandam Peninsula, the Al Batinah coast, the valleys and the high plateau of the eastern region, the interior oases, and Dhofar region, along the narrow coastal strip from the border with Yemen to Ras Naws and the mountains to the north.
In the early 1990s, interior farming areas accounted for more than one-half of the country's cultivated land. Rainfall, although greater in the interior than along the coast, is insufficient for growing crops. Most of the water for irrigation is obtained through the falaj system, in which a vertical shaft is dug from the surface to reach water in porous rock. From the bottom of this shaft, a gently sloping tunnel is dug to tap the water and allow it to flow to a point on the surface at a lower level or into a cistern or underground pool from which it can be lifted by bucket or pump.
A falaj may be many kilometers in length and require numerous additional vertical shafts to provide fresh air to the workers digging the tunnels and to permit the removal of the excavated rock and soil. A falaj requires tremendous expenditure of labor for maintenance as well as for construction. Because private maintenance efforts during the 1970s and early 1980s proved inadequate, the government initiated repair and maintenance of the falaj system to increase the quantity of water available to cultivated areas.
The cooler climate on the high plateau of the Al Jabal al Akhdar enables the growing of apricotsgrapespeaches, and walnuts. The Al Batinah coastal plain accounts for about two fifths of the land area under cultivation and is the most concentrated farming area of the country. Annual rainfall along the coast is minimal, but moisture falling on the mountains percolates through permeable strata to the coastal strip, providing a source of underground water only about two meters below the surface. Diesel motors are used to pump water for irrigation from these shallow wells.
By the mid-1980s, the water table along the Al Batinah coast had dropped to a low level, and salinity of the wells had increased, significantly reducing the water quality. This was caused by the combined effect of cultivating land too close to the sea and pumping more well water than was being recharged by nature, thereby permitting seawater to encroach.
Overfarming and attendant water problems caused the government to establish the Ministry of Water Resources in 1990 with the mandate of limiting water consumption and improving irrigation. A freeze on new wells was imposed in addition to delimiting several "no drill zones" in areas where groundwater supplies are low. The ministry is also considering the installation of water metersRecharge dams are designed to hold rainwater in the wadis for a period of time to facilitate the trickling of water down into the ground; replenishing aquifers have been built mainly in the northeastern Al Batinah region, where the groundwater levels are up to five meters below sea level.
Apart from water problems, the agricultural sector has been affected by rural-urban migration, in which the labor force has been attracted to the higher wages of industry and the government service sector, and by competition from highly subsidized producers. As a result, agriculture and fishing have declined in relative sectoral importance. In 1967 the two sectors together contributed about 34 percent of GDP; by 1991 they accounted for 3.8 percent of GDP. The government encourages farming by distributing land, offering subsidized loans to purchase machinery, offering free feedstock, and giving advice on modern irrigation methods. As a result, the area under cultivation has increased, with an accompanying rise in production. But extensive agricultural activity has also depleted freshwater reserves and underground aquifers and has increased salinity.
The area under cultivation increased by almost 18 percent to 57,814 hectares over the period from 1985 to 1990. Fruits were grown on 64 percent, or 36,990 hectares, of the area under cultivation in crop year 1989-90. Dates accounted for 45 percent of the total area, or 70 percent of the area under fruit cultivation. Grains such as barleywheat, and cornaccounted for 19.2 percent, or 11,092 hectares, and vegetables accounted for 16.8 percent, or 9,732 hectares, of the total area under cultivation.
In the same five-year period, overall agricultural production increased by 3 percent to 699,000 tons. Field crops, largely alfalfa, accounted for more than one-half of total production, or 354,300 tons, a 40 percent increase in the five-year period. Fruit production (including dates and limes) was 182,400 tons, up from 154,500 tons. Vegetable production totaled 162,300 tons, an increase of almost 50 percent.
Historically, fishing was second only to farming as an economic activity in pre-oil Oman. Both the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea offer a variety of catch, including sardines,bluefishmackerelsharktunaabalonelobsters, and oysters. Fishermen harvest their catch in the waters near the coast, using the traditional, small seagoing canoe, to which anoutboard motor has been added.
The fishing sector (along with agriculture) is considered one of the most promising areas for commercial attention and accounts for the highest non-oil export revenue. However, sales in 1990 totaled RO17.3 million, dwarfed by oil export earnings of RO1.9 billion. The GCC provided the largest fish export market. The fishing sector also provided employmentopportunities to 19,296 fishermen registered in 1990, of whom 18,546 were employed in traditional fisheries and 750 in industrial fisheries. Like agriculture, fishing has been affected by the diminishing number of people employed in the sector. As increasing numbers of fishermen turn to more remunerative employment, there has been a gradual decrease in the amount of fish caught.
The government has stressed modernizing and expanding the fishing industry and developing its export potential. The Joint United States-Oman Commission funded the Oman Fisheries Development and Management Project to strengthenDirectorate General of Fisheries Resources (DGFR). In strengthening the DGFR, the government hopes to increase private-sector confidence in the fishing industry and, in the long term, to create private-sector- led development of the industry.

the technical, administrative, and management skills of the
The government is following a dual strategy—internally, to improve the capacity of the DGFR to manage Oman's fishing resources and, externally, to provide incentives for fishermen to remain in their occupations. The government provides subsidies to purchase fiberglass boats and outboard engines; to construct workshops, cold storage facilities, and jetties along the coastline; and to establish companies to market fish both domestically and internationally.

Geography

Oman is a country situated in Southwest Asia, bordering the Arabian SeaGulf of Oman, and Persian Gulf, betweenYemen and United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Oman is located in the southeastern quarter of the Arabian Peninsula and covers a total land area of 309,500 square kilometers. The land area is composed of varying topographicfeatures: valleys and desert account for 82 percent of the land mass; mountain ranges, 15 percent; and the coastal plain, 3 percent.
The sultanate is flanked by the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea, and the Rub' al Khali (Empty Quarter) of Saudi Arabia, all of which contributed to Oman's isolation. Historically, the country's contacts with the rest of the world were by sea, which not only provided access to foreign lands but also linked the coastal towns of Oman. The Rub al Khali, difficult to cross even with modern desert transport, formed a barrier between the sultanate and the Arabian interior. The Al Hajar Mountains, which form a belt between the coast and the desert from the Musandam Peninsula (Ras Musandam) to the city of Sur at Oman's easternmost point, formed another barrier. These geographic barriers kept the interior of Oman free from foreign military encroachments.

Geographical regions

Detailed map of Oman
Topographic map of Oman.
Natural features divide the country into seven distinct areas: Ruus al Jibal, including the northern Musandam Peninsula; theAl Batinah plain running southeast along the Gulf of Oman coast; the Oman interior behind the Al Batinah coast comprising the Al Hajar Mountains their foothills, and desert fringes; the coast from Muscat-Matrah around the Ras al Hadd point and down the Arabian Sea; the offshore island of Masirah; and finally the barren coastline south to the Dhofar region in the south.
Except for the foggy and fertile Dhofar all of the coast and the lowlands around the Al Hajar mountains are part of the Gulf of Oman desert and semi-desert ecoregion, while the mountains themselves are a distinct habitat.

Ruus al Jibal

The northernmost area, Ruus al Jibal, extends from the Musandam Peninsula to the boundary with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at Hisn al Diba. It borders the Strait of Hormuz, which links the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman, and is separated from the rest of the sultanate by a strip of territory belonging to the UAE. This area consists of low mountains forming the northernmost extremity of the Al Hajar al Gharbi (Western Al Hajar) Mountains. Two inlets, Elphinstone (Khawr ash Shamm) and Malcom (Ghubbat al Ghazirah), cleave the coastline about one third of the distance from the Strait of Hormuz and at one point are separated by only a few hundred meters of land. The coastline is extremely rugged, and the Elphinstone Inlet, sixteen kilometers long and surrounded by cliffs 1,000 to 1,250 meters high, has frequently been compared with fjords in Norway.

Al Batinah

The UAE territory separating Ruus al Jibal from the rest of Oman extends almost as far south as the coastal town ofShinas. A narrow, well-populated coastal plain known as Al Batinah runs from the point at which the sultanate is reentered to the town of As Sib, about 140 kilometers to the southeast. Across the plains, a number of wadis, heavily populated in their upper courses, descend from the Al Hajar al Gharbi Mountains to the south. A ribbon of oases, watered by wells and underground channels (falaj), extends the length of the plain, about ten kilometers inland.

Muscat-Matrah coastal area

South of As Sib, the coast changes character. For about 175 kilometers, from As Sib to Ras al Hadd, it is barren and bounded by cliffs almost its entire length; there is no cultivation and little habitation. Although the deep water off this coast renders navigation relatively easy, there are few natural harbors or safe anchorages. The two best are at Muscat andMatrah, where natural harbors facilitated the growth of cities centuries ago.

Coastal tract, and island of Masirah

The desolate coastal tract from Jalan to Ras Naws has no specific name. Low hills and wastelands meet the sea for long distances. Midway along this coast and about fifteen kilometers offshore is the barren Masirah island. Stretching about seventy kilometers, the island occupies a strategic location near the entry point to the Gulf of Oman from the Arabian Sea. Because of its location, it became the site of military facilities used first by the British and then by the United States, following an access agreement signed in 1980 by the United States and Oman.

Oman interior

West of the coastal areas lies the tableland of central Oman. The Al Hajar Mountains form two ranges: the Al Hajar al Gharbi Mountains and the Al Hajar ash Sharqi (Eastern Al Hajar) Mountains. They are divided by the Wadi Samail (the largest wadi in the mountain zone), a valley that forms the traditional route between Muscat and the interior. The general elevation is about 1,200 meters, but the peaks of the high ridge known as Jebel Akhdar (Green Mountain), rise to more than 3,000 m. Jabal Akhdar is the only home of the Arabiantahr, a unique species of wild goat. In the hope of saving this rare animal, Sultan Qabus ibn Said has declared part of the mountain a national park. Behind the Al Hajar al Gharbi Mountains are two inland regions, Az Zahirah and Inner Oman, separated by the lateral range of the Rub al Khali. Adjoining the Al Hajar ash Sharqi Mountains are the sandy regions of Ash Sharqiyah and Jalan, which also border the desert.

Dhofar region

Dhofar region extends from Ras ash Sharbatat to the border of Yemen and north to the clearly defined border with Saudi Arabia. Its capital, Salalah, was the permanent residence of Sultan Said ibn Taimur Al Said and the birthplace of the present sultan, Qabus ibn Said. The highest peaks are about 2,000 meters. The coast of Dhofar is fertile, being watered by monsoonal fogs from the Indian Ocean and is part of the Arabian Peninsula coastal fog desert ecoregion.
Al Dharerah region consists of three parts:Dhank; Ibri; and Yanqul.

Climate

SeaWiFS captured this dust cloud blowing out over the Arabian Sea from Oman. March 12, 2000
With the exception of Dhofar region, which has a strong monsoon climate and receives warm winds from the Indian Ocean, the climate of Oman is extremely hot and dry most of the year.
Summer begins in mid-April and lasts until October. The highest temperatures are registered in the interior, where readings of more than 53 °C (127.4 °F) in the shade are common. On the Al Batinah plain, summer temperatures seldom exceed 47 °C (116.6 °F), but, because of the low elevation, the humidity may be as high as 90 percent. The mean summer temperature in Muscat is 33 °C (91.4 °F), but the gharbi (literally, western), a strong wind that blows from the Rub al Khali, can raise temperatures from the towns on the Gulf of Oman by 6 °C (10.8 °F) to 10 °C (18 °F).
Winter temperatures are mild and pleasant, ranging between 18 and 26 °C (64.4 and 78.8 °F).
Precipitation on the coasts and on the interior plains ranges from 20 to 100 millimeters (0.8 to 3.9 in) a year and falls during mid- and late winter. Rainfall in the mountains, particularly over Jebel Akhdar, is much higher and may reach 900 millimeters (35.4 in).
Because the plateau of Jebel Akhdar is porous limestone, rainfall seeps quickly through it, and the vegetation, which might be expected to be more lush, is meager. However, a huge reservoir under the plateau provides springs for low-lying areas. In addition, an enormous wadi channels water to these valleys, making the area agriculturally productive in years of good rainfall.
Dhofar, benefiting from a southwest monsoon between June and September, receives heavier rainfall and has constantly running streams, which make the region Oman's most fertile area.
Occasionally, a cyclone from the North Indian Ocean makes landfall, bringing with it heavy rain, such as Cyclone Kelia did in 2011. Oman was hit by Cyclone Gonu on June 6. Large areas in the capital area region in the Governorate of Muscat and in Amerat and Quriyat were severely affected. Gonu first hit the southern city of Sur late on June 5, 2007.[1] Oman is one of the few countries with no National Red Crescent or Red Cross Society.