A well-knitted plan has been prepared for the promotion of Olive cultivation in the country and Azad Kashmir. Overall demand of olive oil is 1.9 million tone of which 1.3 million tone was being imported from different countries for catering the domestic needs and requirements costing Rs 28 billion annually.
Official sources told Business Recorder on Sunday that special attention would be focused on the promotion of Olive cultivation and necessary information and guidance are being extended to Olive growers in Balochistan. Olive model farms are playing instrumental role in cultivation of Olive crop in various parts and a large number of cultivators showing their keen interest in Olive crop in the Province, sources said.
In Punjab, Sialkot, Narowal, Gujrat, Jhelum, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Attock, Chakwal and Khushab districts are the potential areas for Olive cultivation. Olive orchard cultivation throughout these potential areas of Punjab could produce much quantity of oil, which may certainly bring Pakistan’s Olive oil import share to zero resultantly enabling its exports to mount. There is a vast potential for Olive cultivation in Pakistan which can be adopted by two different ways like new plantation and grafting the available wild varieties.
According to the research conducted by Barani Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), Chakwal, the prevailing environment, minimum/ maximum temperature, soil types, average rainfall and other related growth factors in Sialkot, Narowal, Gujrat, Jhelum, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Attock, Chakwal and Khushab areas are exactly according to Olive cultivation requirements.
In this context, agriculture department of SMEDA Punjab is conducting awareness and training programmes to facilitate the people by creating awareness on Olive cultivation techniques and producing value-added products. The marginal lands could be utilised for Olive cultivation without replacing the other crops and it will help in reducing the import bill of the country sources added.