By Vikas Vij
Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from New Delhi
Pakistan has announced plans to boost olive cultivation with a plantation of four million olive saplings in the northwest tribal province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Provincial Minister for Agriculture Arbab Ayub Jan said that the goal is to make the region self-sufficient in olive oil.
The government of Pakistan has already launched a Rs. 500 million mechanized farming program to usher in a revolution in the country’s agriculture. Minister Ayub Jan, while speaking to a group of farmers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said that a major distribution plan is underway to ensure that the olive saplings get distributed to various areas of the province that are well-suited for the cultivation of olives.
The government is devising a multi-pronged strategy to achieve its long-term goal of self-sufficiency. Well-distributed olive cultivation across the province would help achieve maximum produce in the shortest timeframe. At the same time, the government is looking at other key areas to boost olive production.
The minister said that the government is investing in the establishment of new cold storages and installation of plants to grade and polish fruits. Such improvements in agricultural infrastructure would support the government’s targets of achieving superior produce, low wastage and self-sufficiency in critical food products such as olive oil. The minister pointed out that two new cold storages at a cost of Rs. 360 million had already been established with financial assistance from Italy.