Director National Project Olive, Dr Muhammad Munir said here on Wednesday that olive plantation has been made on about 1700 acres of land in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). “Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) is playing a leading role in introduction of olive plantation in Pakistan with the financial support of Italian Government and technical support of Provincial Governments,” he said.
He said that the plants planted five to six years ago have now become mature trees and are at fruiting stage, however added that there was need of proper marketing to get reasonable prices for these fruits to help increase income of farmers. “These fruits should be utilised at local level and farmers should process and prepare the products by their own,” he remarked adding that by involving rural females in value addition of olive fruits would help increase their incomes. PARC in collaboration with Barani Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) Chakwal and AFNEPAK Project Wednesday organised a training course for Female Farmers on “Olive Value Addition” at BARI Chakwal to assess the need of future and to support the farmers to generate income through preparation of live products.
The female farmers were trained about the medicinal importance of olive and how to make by-products of olive fruit. They were trained practically how to make olive pickle, jam, murrabba, syrup and bakery items. On concluding session of the training, Ivan Virtuosi, Italian Experts and Director AFNEPAK, Dr Nasir Mahmood Cheema, DPD (Olive) PARC, Dr Muhammad Tariq, Director BARI Chakwal, Dr Fahad Karim Awan and other Olive Expert addressed the participants. They said that Pakistan has 52 percent female population, who can play a vital role in the development of agriculture.
They said this training will provide females an opportunity to learn about preparation of products from olive. In coming years these trained rural female farmers will help to develop a cottage industry resulting in increase of farmer income, reduction in unemployment and putting farming community on the road to prosperity.