Perceptions and attitudes of farmers and landowners on soil salinity management and use of elemental sulphur in Oman

Ahmed Al-Mayahi, Noah Al-Shibli, Tarig Gibreel, Daniel Blackburn, Said Al-Ismaily*, Caila McHugh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Soil salinity threatens agricultural sustainability globally and is a significant challenge in Oman. Previous studies in Oman focused on examining the causality and spatiotemporal variation of groundwater and soil salinity, neglecting farmers' perceptions and attitudes towards salinity management. Therefore, this study evaluates (i) perceptions and attitudes of landowners and farmers towards soil salinity and its management, and (ii) determinants of willingness to use elemental sulphur to alleviate soil salinity in Oman. A questionnaire survey (122 responses) assessed perceptions, attitudes and knowledge using Likert scales and qualitative questions. Binary Logistic Regression analysed determinants of willingness to use elemental sulphur. Results reveal variations in perceptions, attitudes, knowledge and management practices. Most of the respondents were aware of adequate nutrient and water requirements for crops (p <.05). Respondents rely on social media (38.5%), fellow farmers (32.1%) and personal experiences (11.5%) for knowledge acquisition about soil salinity management. Half of the respondents did not monitor soil salinity, while the other half relied primarily on visual observation. A substantial number (62.6%) of the respondents did not implement any techniques to alleviate soil salinity, while among those who acted, a majority preferred cultivating date palms (55%) or fodders (29.4%). Awareness of the national salinity management strategy and commercial products is lacking. However, when introduced to elemental sulphur as a soil amendment for salinity, 74.8% of the respondents demonstrated a willingness to utilize it. Most (82.4%) preferred elemental sulphur products within the lowest price range. Being a full-time farmer, owning a farm, awareness of the national strategy and low-price preferences were positive determinants, while <1 year of farming experience was a negative determinant of willingness to use elemental sulphur. These findings inform future research on socio-economic perceptions of salinity in Oman, the Gulf region and similar arid areas facing food production limitations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12961
Number of pages23
JournalSoil Use and Management
Volume40
Issue number1
Early online date13 Aug 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

Keywords

  • arid zone countries
  • elemental sulphur
  • Oman
  • soil amendment
  • soil salinity
  • water management

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