Oman: Food Security in Times of Uncertainty
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As the protest illustrated, the affordability of food has been an issue of concern among Omani citizens. As a result of its arid climate, the salinity of the country's soil and water scarcity, there are restrictions to the number of products that are commercially viable to produce. Over the years, problems have deteriorated as a result of overpumping, which has enhanced the salinity of groundwater and even resulted in some agricultural lands becoming unsuitable for cultivation. Simultaneously, farming has not been a profitable business, as large segments of Omani farmers live below the poverty line, as they are struggling to sell their products to retailers and often lack access to finance for their operations. As a result, the number of farmers has significantly decreased since the 1970s, reducing self-sufficiency in wheat and livestock production making Oman largely depended on the world food markets to satisfy domestic demand. This makes the country vulnerable to external supply shocks, such as the ones that occurred from 2006 to 2008 and in 2010.