Pakistan to cultivate olive on 8,000 acres
ISLAMABAD – As many as 50,000 acres of land would be brought under olive cultivation all across Pakistan during the next five years as the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) has taken extra-ordinary measures to promote olive culture in the country.
The target for this year has been set for planting olive saplings over 8,000 acres of land across Pakistan, the participants of the planning meeting was informed here at the PARC headquarters. The meeting was chaired by PARC Chairman Dr Iftikhar Ahmad while PARC’s Natural Resources Division member Dr Nadeem Amjad and project In-charges of all the provincial components were present on the occasion.
– Free olive plants, processing facilities –
On the occasion, the PARC chairman said that free olive plants and olive processing facilities would be provided to the farmers to promote olive culture and reduce dependence on imports for which the national exchequer has been spending billions of rupees. He emphasised for developing and strengthening the specialised nurseries to produce indigenous olive plants at mega scale to meet the demand and plantation targets.
On the occasion, Dr Amjad appreciated the pace of working and planning strategy developed by the PARC Federal Project Management Unit promoting olive cultivation all across Pakistan. Earlier, Olive’s National Project Director Dr Nasir Mahmood Cheema briefed the participants about the working plan to achieve the targets of the project.
He said that eight olive oil mills of large and medium capacity would be installed this year for processing of olive fruit. He said a mother olive orchards would be established at NARC with sixty different olive cultivars for provision of true to type propagation material to develop indigenous plants. Specialised manpower will also be developed at different aspects of olive to strengthen the olive culture, he said.
– Private sector’s involvement –
He said that private sector was being encouraged to promote olive value added products and two companies were already working in this sector with the efforts of the Federal Project Unit. Through such initiatives, “we can achieve the national goals of increasing the production of domestic edible oil, save foreign exchange and uplift the socio-economic condition of our farmers,” he remarked.
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