0.7m olive saplings to be planted across the country during next two months

ISLAMABAD: Under a mega project, the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) would plant 700,000 olive saplings across the country during the next two months.

“Olive plantation has already been completed at an area of 7,166 acres in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and Bolochistan,” said PARC acting Chairman Dr M Azeem Khan while chairing a meeting of the project here on Sunday.

He said more than 600,000 cuttings and air layering were practiced for propagation purpose. Dr Azeem Khan said the project had developed protocols of two olive varieties for propagation though tissue culture technology.

Seven olive nurseries have been established so far and 13 specialised nurseries are in the process of establishment at different components, he said, adding the project had also established and managed olive mother blocks at all provincial components.

PARC is ready to purchase and install 11 oil mills of different capacity at suitable locations for quick processing, he added.

He said PARC was working in close collaboration with federal and provincial institutions to provide science-based solutions to agriculture of Pakistan through its statutory functions.

Project director for olive plantation Dr Nasir Mahmood Cheema said that PARC was going to complete new olive plantation under olive commercial project at 8,000 acres during 2015-16, besides 1,250 persons trained at different districts under provincial components for orchard layout, orchard management and post-harvest handling of olive fruit.

To get maximum financial benefits, he said experiments were conducted for value addition of olive fruit to prepare olive jam, pickle, syrup, bakery items, olive beauty cream and some other cosmetic items.

This activity would play important role in poverty alleviation of respective areas, he said, adding that working in olive sector at this massive scale would generate huge financial impact in the development of economy.

Expected quantity of oil after five years of plantation at 50,000 acres is 14 million litres valuing Rs 28 billion, he concluded.

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