Punjab to promote olive cultivation
SIALKOT: The Punjab government has chalked out a plan for the promotion of olive crop cultivation in the province.
Official sources told APP on Sunday that under the plan special attention will be focused on scientific cultivation of olive crop for attaining yielding results. 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. 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. The marginal lands could be utilized for olive cultivation without replacing the other crops and it will help in reducing the import bill of the country, sources added.
Meanwhile, the agriculture department Punjab was conducting awareness and training programmes to facilitate the people by creating awareness on olive cultivation techniques and producing value added products. According to available information the overall demand of olive oil was over 1.9 million ton, of which 1.3 million ton was being imported from various countries for catering domestic needs and requirements costing billion of rupees every year.
Sunflower cultivation: The Punjab government has evolved a well-knitted plan for the promotion of sunflower and other oil seed crops in the province. The step has been taken to produce maximum edible oil aimed at reduce import and produce maximum edible oil in the province. The sowing of sunflower crop will be completed by the end of next month in various parts of the Punjab while the sowing of sunflower crop will be accomplished in Multan, Vehari, Rahim Yar Khan, Khanewal, Bahawalpur and Bahawalnagar by the end of the current month. Agriculture department sources told APP on Sunday that under the programme over 87,000 acres of land would be brought under Sunflower crop in various areas of Punjab.
At present, only 34 percent edible oil is being produced within the country and 66 percent was being imported for catering to the domestic needs for which government was spending huge foreign exchange on the import of edible oil every year. The department urged the growers that they should bring their maximum land under sunflower crop for attaining self-sufficiency in edible oil. In Sialkot district, sunflower will be cultivated over 1000 acres of land, sources added. The sunflower crop will be cultivated in Daska at 534 acres, Pasrur 650 acres, Sambrial 400 acres and Sialkot 255 acres tehsils of Sialkot district.
The Agriculture department has directed the sunflower growers that they should use only recommended seeds for obtaining maximum yield of the crop and follow the guidelines of agriculture department. Under the programme the department is motivating grower community that they should bring their maximum land under sunflower crop to cope with domestic requirements, they added.