Plan to use drones in palm pollination in Bahrain

Pollinating palm trees has been successfully implemented in Oman

  

Drones could soon be used to help pollinate palm trees following a Northern Municipal Council proposal suggesting the move.

It has highlighted Oman’s recent implementation of the technology which has proved successful.

The move is being spearheaded by Northern Municipal Councillor Mohammed Al Dossari – who represents constituency three – Budaiya, Jasra, Hamala Coast and parts of Salman Town.

“Pollinating palm trees has been successfully implemented in Oman and there are efforts to spread it across the GCC region,” he told the GDN.

“It is part of a larger-scale project to enhance the agricultural practice in the region in collaboration with the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas.

“Research has proven the success of this technique in Oman using liquidated pollen in experimental agricultural research laboratories in Oman and was tried out in field workshops.”

He told the GDN that there is popular support from residents keen to enhance the local agricultural sector and specifically find ways to better develop the crop of palm trees.

Online reports have highlighted promising results due to the introduction of new technology.

Flowers

Pollen could be extracted from flowers during specific times and seasons, purified and then dispersed using the drones.

Palm trees have separate male and female flowers ... they’re naturally wind-pollinated, but to ensure a good fruit set, some farmers have to bring a stalk of male flowers to a flowering female tree and dust pollen onto female flowers with a cotton pad.

According to Mr Al Dossari, this proposal also aims to help the kingdom achieves its sustainable development goals.

“We have seen trials and experiments using this technique carried out by the General Directorate of Agricultural and Animal Research in Oman,” he added.

“They were using liquid pollen which was successful in the germination of the date palms with pollen.

“The liquid was used in research farms and the technology was given to farmers through field workshops.

“This is a key proposal as Bahrain has always been known as the country of a million date palms and we want to revive that and live up to that majestic name.”

Mr Al Dossari told the GDN that the proposal was discussed by the council’s services committee. He revealed that a decision was made to refer an official letter to the Interior Ministry to determine the logistics and mechanism to apply the proposal.

The use of drone technology in Bahrain has been strictly limited in recent years because of security concerns although it was used recently to help control crowds during the pandemic in central Manama. Drones have also been used to document key sporting events too.

reem@gdn.com.bh

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