Farming for Hospitality

(10th May) Alila Jabal Akhdar was proud to host the unveiling of ‘Farming for Hospitality’, a community initiative spearheaded by the Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) aimed to support the growth of micro-businesses by assisting local producers in the Jabal Al Akhdar region to grow and supply fresh produce. Held under the auspices of His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Khalifa bin Hamad Al Saadi, Governor of Dakhiliyah, the ceremony was attended by representatives of Omran, Alila Jabal Akhdar, Government officials and members of the local community. The event witnessed a signing ceremony between Mr. Ahmed Al Shariqi, a representative of the farmers participating in the project, Omran officials and Alila Jabal Akhdar. In support of the program, Alila Jabal Akhdar will purchase a percentage of the produce grown as part of hotel’s regular food procurement.


‘Farming for Hospitality’ first launched as a pilot campaign in May 2014 under the umbrella of Omran’s leading corporate responsibility initiative ‘Intajee’, literally ‘my product’. The CSR programme equips farmers in Jabal Al Akhdar with modern greenhouses to grow fresh vegetables enabling them to sustain their local communities as well as supplying neighbouring hotels such as Alila Jabal Akhdar. The project creates a bridge between small-scale farming enterprises and major hospitality providers as well as upgrading the existing skills of local farmers and transforming the capabilities of traditional farming practices in the region.

His Excellency Sheikh Dr.Khalifa Al Saadi, Governor of Dakhiliyah, commented, “It is inspiring to witness the corporation 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.”

Julian Ayers, General Manager at Alila Jabal Akhdar, added, “We are deeply honoured to be involved in the ground-breaking ‘Farming for Hospitality’ project which will enable Alila Jabal Akhdar to source superlative fresh local produce, and in doing so, improve the calibre of cuisine served to guests at the resort. “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 AlilaJabalAkhdar goes hand in hand with the long term sustainability of the communities of Jabal Al Akhdar.”

Commenting on the event, Eng. Wael Al Lawati, Omran Group CEO, noted, “Viable tourism benefits not only the economy, but also the local communities in which it derives its inspiration and resources.  In order to sustain proper tourism development the benefits of the sector must be felt at all levels of society, most importantly at the community level.” “Farming for Hospitality is a pioneering project in Oman and is a key addition to Omran’s growing portfolio of sustainable community initiatives.  Through the provision of greenhouses and agricultural skills training, the program creates a sustainable business model for elective farmers and benefits the community as a whole.  Initiatives such as this are integral to the Government’s vision for a sustainable future for the citizens and communities of Oman.” During a tour of the greenhouses, local Farmer Mr. Ahmed Al Shariqi said, “I am very grateful for the opportunity to participate in ‘Farming for Hospitality’.   Before starting this programme, I grew only pomegranates in the small garden of my house, but since the start of the project I have been able to grow a variety of vegetables including tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers in the greenhouse provided to me by Omran.”

farming“We recently experienced our first harvest, a portion of which was sold to Alila Jabal Akhdar.  Since my first sale, the resort has been constantly enquiring about future harvests and sales which has given me great confidence as I know there is a market for my fresh produce.” Al Shariqi added, “‘Farming for Hospitality’ means a lot to my family and me.  It is my ambition to help the project grow further by increasing the volume and variety of produce as well as becoming a successful business owner. The earth houses much goodness and it is our job to harness this goodness for our community.”

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