A look at vegetable-rich Batinah region


We kept coming back for the motorcycle and camel rides in Batinah from time to time not minding too much on the long stretches of green fields along the way. This time we did not miss the chance to visit them. Our kind and unassuming Omani host offered the entourage a refreshing visit in  his vegetable and goat farm. We  found out vegetables and fruits are planted and [harvested] in great quantities in this part of Oman so that makes them not really dependent on vegetables from major exporters. Oil-rich Oman seems intent on becoming vegetable-rich as well, though it pales in comparison to figures achieved by vegetable-growing countries in Asia or North America. I later discovered that a considerable chunk of food crops in Oman is cultivated on the coastal region of Batinah plain, which extends north-westwards from the north of Muscat region to the rim of the United Arab Emirates.To name some, they are tomatoes, pumpkins, mangoes, bananas, sweet potatoes, sweet corn and an assortment of select fruits, like dates which have greatly increased over the last few years.

This blog under the category of plants and wildlife documents 4   vegetable plantations that we have visited namely okra, stringbeans, eggplant and cabbage. These products find its way to almost all the supermarkets and retailers in Oman.

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Okra comes packed with glutathione, a protein molecule that is naturally produced in the body and  is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body guard against the harmful effects of germs and bacteria that cause cancers and other diseases. It helps to improve liver, heart and lung functions and boost the immune system.

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Okra farms and other farms planted to vegetables are a common sight in the Batinah coast of Oman.
Okra eaters
Okra eaters,according to history.

Okra has made a name in ancient times, with its beginnings in Egypt where it is cultivated before the time of Queen Cleopatra. Then it became popular  to many parts of the world during the Atlantic slave trade.  The shortage of coffee beans in WWII gave rise to okra seed’s prominence as a very good substitute.  This incident made the word “okra fever”. Since then, okra’s popularity never disappeared from local markets to convenience stores throughout the world and throughout the year.

The world’s most beautiful women in ancient times, Cleopatra of Egypt and Yang Guifei of China loved to eat okra according to historical accounts.The world’s most productive land of okra in a rural area in Kami, Kochi Prefecture , Japan, is known popularly for how the young and old all look very healthy. When asked about their secret in having good health in that area, they graciously answer “okra”.

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Okra is also reported to be beneficial to those suffering from diabetes as it helps to stabilize the blood sugar. Some people who claimed to have their diabetes cured or their condition greatly improved with the daily consumption of water that has been soaked with okra.

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The other side of weeds.

So you think you know what a weed is? Did you ever think “why” you have weeds?  Did you ever think about positive values and functions that weeds might provide? There are many wildlife uses for weeds, including hosting more insects than you see or can imagine.Many wild mammals feed on weeds.  There are more good insects than bad in gardens, many being predators of the bad, or serving as food for birds.  Small parasitic insects, also serving as biological controls for bad ones, feed on the nectar of many weed flowers.   Some weeds host the larvae of butterflies, such as the monarch larvae on milkweeds.  We all have seen bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies feeding on flower nectar of many weeds.  Especially important to these are the late season wildflowers, when not much else is in flower, such as goldenrod and aster.

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The Omani farm owner showed his  unrelenting appetite for a memorable pose with us.

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Farmworkers in almost all the veggie fields are tended to by Bangali laborers like this stringbean fields we visited. Green beans (string beans) have been, in recent studies shown to have impressive antioxidant capacity.Research comparing the overall antioxidant capacity of green beans to other foods in the pea and bean families has found green beans to come out on top.For one, it’s also a valuable source of silicon for bone health and healthy formation of connective tissues in the body.

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Cabbage contains enormous anti-ageing compounds like beta carotene and Vitamin C. These compounds repair the damaged cells of the skin and give healthy and shiny skin protecting against the ageing of the skin.

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Although iron is essential for many biological process in the body, excess accumulation of it is not beneficial and causes certain harmful effects in the body. Increased accumulation of iron causes rise in the production of free radicals in the body and is associated with high risk of heart disease and cancer.Therefore,studies have taught us that it is necessary to remove the excess iron to reduce the free radical production which can be done by nasunin, a phytonutrient present in eggplant.

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Prior to the discovery of oil in the 1960s, the agricultural sector was vital in the Omani economy.  The principal agricultural area is found along the Batinah coast, in the northeast between Muscat and Diba al-Hisn. Oman is famed for producing very high quality agricultural goods and the highest quality products are usually exported to the neighboring Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.To this day, agriculture remains to be one of Oman’s main non-oil exports.

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3 thoughts on “A look at vegetable-rich Batinah region”

  1. I really like this post, I’m going to attempt to grow okra for the first time this year, I’ve never actually tasted it before so it should be fun. After reading your post, I’ve concluded that whether I like it or not I’ll definitely be eating it now I know how good it is for you! 🙂

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