By Tamara Pupic
Omani authorities and major hospitality providers have initiated a CSR project to provide local farmers with opportunities to supply their freshest produce to hotels
The Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) and Alila Jabal Akhdar have launched an initiative to support local farmers in their entrepreneurial endeavours to grow and supply more fresh produce.
Farming for Hospitality, the community initiative aimed at connecting small-scale farmers with hospitality providers, was unveiled at Alila Jabal Akhdar, the resort in Jabal Akhdar, part of the Al Hajar mountain range.
To support the programme, Alila Jabal Akhdar committed to purchase a percentage of the produce grown as part of hotel’s regular food procurement.
Speaking at the event, Julian Ayers, general manager at Alila Jabal Akhdar, said: “As the nation’s premier sustainable hotel, it is our duty to ensure visitors the best destination experience, and do it such that our business benefits the community in which we are a part of.
“The success of Alila Jabal Akhdar goes hand in hand with the long term sustainability of the communities of Jabal Al Akhdar.”
The initiative comes as a result of the successful pilot campaign in May 2014, which was part of Omran’s leading corporate responsibility initiative ‘Intajee’, meaning ‘my product’ in Arabic.
As part of the CSR programme, farmers in Jabal Al Akhdar will get modern greenhouses to grow fresh vegetables enabling them to sustain their local communities as well as supply neighbouring hotels.
The process will also allow them to upgrade their skills and transform the capabilities of traditional farming practices in the region.
During the event, held under the auspices of His Excellency Sheikh Dr Khalifa bin Hamad Al Saadi, Governor of Dakhiliyah, the agreement was signed between Ahmed Al Shariqi, a representative of the farmers participating in the project, Omran officials and Alila Jabal Akhdar.
His Excellency Sheikh Dr Khalifa Al Saadi, Governor of Dakhiliyah, commented, “It is inspiring to witness the cooperation between large scale hospitality providers, local communities and SMEs in the Jabal Al Akhdar region.
“I truly hope that ‘Farming for Hospitality’ will serve as an example to motivate further collaborations and synergies, both in the region and across the nation.”