`Pakistan Celebrates Foreign Investment, Local Culture at World Olive Day Gala - Olive Oil Times

Pakistan Celebrates Foreign Investment, Local Culture at World Olive Day Gala

By Wasim Shahzad
Jan. 3, 2024 21:23 UTC

Supporters of Pakistan’s fledg­ling olive oil indus­try recently gath­ered to cel­e­brate World Olive Day at the PakOlive National Gala in Islamabad.

The olive gala was a great suc­cess as per the response we got from the stake­hold­ers,” said Azmat Ali, the national project direc­tor of PakOlive, which orga­nized the event. These types of events help in the pro­mo­tion of olive cul­ture in Pakistan.”

The gala was hosted as part of the country’s ini­tia­tive to pro­mote com­mer­cial-scale olive cul­ti­va­tion and cre­ate a value chain sur­round­ing olive farm­ing and oil pro­duc­tion.

See Also:Olives Bring Sustainable Development to Pakistan

The event brought together olive oil enthu­si­asts, curi­ous con­sumers, stu­dents, indus­try experts, gov­ern­ment offi­cials and for­eign dig­ni­taries to net­work and seek part­ner­ships with domes­tic and inter­na­tional enti­ties.

This event served as a cru­cial step­ping stone for Pakistan’s olive and olive oil indus­try,” said Aiza Imran, the senior brand exec­u­tive and cli­mate sus­tain­abil­ity spe­cial­ist at Khaity Technologies, an agri-tech firm.

Featuring over 60 exhibitors, each show­cas­ing uniquely curated prod­ucts, the gala pro­vided valu­able insights into the mul­ti­fac­eted aspects of the sec­tor,” she added.

Khaity Technologies was among the exhibitors, allow­ing landown­ers and farm­ers to use the firm’s remote sens­ing tech­nolo­gies to explore how their land could be used for olive cul­ti­va­tion.

The agri-tech com­pany has been instru­men­tal in devel­op­ing Pakistan’s olive grow­ing and oil pro­duc­tion sec­tor, advis­ing farm­ers about grow­ing, har­vest­ing and trans­form­ing olives.


Government officials, students and curious consumers attended the event to learn more about Pakistan’s fledgling olive oil sector. (Photo:PakOlive)

The com­pany also offers soil analy­sis, dis­ease detec­tion ser­vices and an online mar­ket­place for farm­ers to pur­chase agri­cul­tural prod­ucts.

Shahid Saeed Abbasi, the chief exec­u­tive of Bagh e Zaitoon, a farm­ers’ asso­ci­a­tion, was also among the atten­dees.

Galas of this type increase the aware­ness of local prod­ucts, and we had a good expe­ri­ence in sales and intro­duc­tion of local pro­duce,” he said. The event was suc­cess­ful, and fre­quent events of this kind in major cities will help to gen­er­ate a big­ger mar­ket for local olive prod­ucts.”

Bagh e Zaitoon includes a large net­work of farm­ers, includ­ing olive farm­ers, spread across Pakistan. Abbasi said he was at the event to pro­mote the country’s olive oil to inter­ested con­sumers and pro­vide net­work­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for olive farm­ers and millers.

Other farmer asso­ci­a­tions, inde­pen­dent olive oil pro­duc­ers and nurs­eries were also among the 60 exhibitors at the two-day event.


Vendors attended the event, selling their olive oil and olive-derived products. (Photo:PakOlive)

With thou­sands of atten­dees over the two-day exhi­bi­tion, nation­wide [media] cov­er­age and the pres­ence of gov­ern­ment offi­cials, the PakOlive National Gala proved to be a suc­cess for both orga­niz­ers and exhibitors,” Imran said. It played a piv­otal role in rais­ing aware­ness about the growth of Pakistan’s local indus­try.”

The gala also served as a plat­form for offi­cials to pro­mote sev­eral for­eign-funded projects, includ­ing an invest­ment by Italian com­pa­nies to develop the olive oil pro­duc­tion chain.


Officials said the project brought exper­tise, tech­nol­ogy, and resources, helped improve diplo­matic ties, and pro­moted cul­tural exchange between the two coun­tries.

The project has helped to pro­mote olive cul­ture in Pakistan through sev­eral activ­i­ties,” Ali said. In the future, this project will help in the devel­op­ment of labs, olive cul­ti­va­tion capac­ity and more advanced infra­struc­ture.”


A guided extra virgin olive oil tasting at the Pak Olive National Gala (Photo: PakOlive)

Pakistan’s olive indus­try is still in its very early stages. Therefore, there is an imme­di­ate need to train the work­force to meet qual­ity stan­dards.

Our expe­ri­ence has been good, and growth has been get­ting bet­ter how­ever, the olive indus­try is still in the infant stage,” Abbasi said. In 2015, we started to con­vert the har­vest into oil and tabled olive prod­ucts. Since then, we are expand­ing our mar­ket­ing of local pro­duce every year organ­i­cally.”


According to a 2022 report on the country’s olive oil sec­tor from the Pakistan Business Council, per capita con­sump­tion is just 0.017 kilo­grams per annum.

Despite the min­i­mal exist­ing domes­tic con­sump­tion of olive oil, it is encour­ag­ing to see that
demand for olive oil in Pakistan over the last decade has more than dou­bled from 1,461 tons to 3,744 tons over a period of ten years from 2011 to 2020,” the coun­cil wrote.


Officials from Italy were among those attending the PakOlive National Gala to promote their projects. (Photo:PakOlive)

The Pakistan Business Council attrib­uted this increase in pro­duc­tion to increas­ing aware­ness about olive oil health ben­e­fits in Pakistan and the wider pen­e­tra­tion of inter­na­tional cui­sine that uses olive oil as a key ingre­di­ent in the coun­try.

However, the report also said that olive oil con­sump­tion was unlikely to mean­ing­fully replace the coun­try’s most com­monly used cook­ing oils in the fore­see­able future.

Still, the involve­ment of for­eign projects is help­ing to grow a local olive cul­ture and has facil­i­tated the trans­for­ma­tion of the local work­force, equip­ping them with the nec­es­sary exper­tise and pro­fi­ciency in line with rec­og­nized global stan­dards gov­ern­ing olive cul­ti­va­tion and pro­duc­tion.

Foreign projects like PakOlive and OliveCulture, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with CIHEAM BARI and the gov­ern­ment of Italy, include train­ing pro­grams for local farm­ers, agron­o­mists and indus­try pro­fes­sion­als,” Imran said.

This is help­ing in build­ing the skills and capa­bil­i­ties of the work­force involved in the olive indus­try of Pakistan,” she added.

Ali under­scored the impor­tance of hold­ing such events in the future, adding that the national gala would become an annual event and other sim­i­lar activ­i­ties would be orga­nized in the com­ing year.


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