`Pakistan Set to Become Olive Council Member - Olive Oil Times

Pakistan Set to Become Olive Council Member

Feb. 11, 2022
Paolo DeAndreis

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Pakistani gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives met with offi­cials from the International Olive Council (IOC) in Madrid recently to announce that the South Asian coun­try will become its 19th mem­ber.

The IOC’s goal is to plant tens of mil­lions of trees and make Pakistan a rel­e­vant olive oil pro­ducer in the region. The coun­try is already involved in a multi-year nation­wide effort to expand local olive pro­duc­tion.

Pakistan has real poten­tial and ade­quate human resources to suc­ceed in its olive sec­tor devel­op­ment plan.- Abdellatif Ghedira, exec­u­tive direc­tor, IOC

According to Juan Vilar Strategic Consultants, Pakistan pro­duces about 1,500 tons of olive oil per annum and 830 tons of table olives, all of which are des­tined for domes­tic con­sump­tion.

Pakistan feels the need to con­nect with the coun­cil as they are devel­op­ing their olive sec­tor and their inter­nal olive oil con­sump­tion grows,” Abdellatif Ghedira, the IOC’s exec­u­tive direc­tor, told Olive Oil Times.

See Also:Olive Cultivation Is Expanding in Georgia

In Pakistan, olive oil cul­ture is mak­ing inroads, and so are the oppor­tu­ni­ties related to that,” he added. The coun­cil is a deci­sive player in con­tribut­ing to the sus­tain­able and respon­si­ble devel­op­ment of olive grow­ing, and it serves as a world forum for dis­cussing pol­i­cy­mak­ing issues and tack­ling present and future chal­lenges.”

The nation­wide Ten Billion Tree Tsunami project launched by the gov­ern­ment to tackle some of the effects of cli­mate change such as soil ero­sion and deser­ti­fi­ca­tion com­ple­ments the olive expan­sion projects meant to bring new oppor­tu­ni­ties to farm­ers.

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The refor­esta­tion project, con­sid­ered by the United Nations one of the most ambi­tious on a global scale, aims at restor­ing and enhanc­ing more than one mil­lion hectares of for­est by the end of 2023.

Today Pakistan’s for­est cov­ers only five per­cent of the coun­try, com­pared with a 23 per­cent global aver­age. Planting fruit tree crops, such as olives, is an envi­ron­men­tally and eco­nom­i­cally-friendly way to achieve this goal.

The sec­ond phase of the national olive project, which started 12 years ago, will add 10 mil­lion new olive trees in the next three years.

Given the unique char­ac­ter­is­tics of the olive tree, often thriv­ing in areas way more chal­leng­ing for other crops, gov­ern­ment offi­cials believe that olive farm­ing is an effi­cient answer both to refor­esta­tion needs and eco­nomic devel­op­ment.

A spe­cial focus in this phase will be given to under­priv­i­leged areas of the coun­try, such as Southern Balochistan, Southern Punjab, the tribal areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and some parts of Sindh province,” Muhammad Tariq, national project direc­tor at the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, told Olive Oil Times.

Thanks to coop­er­a­tion projects with some of the IOC’s European mem­bers, such as Spain and Italy, and with for­eign sup­port from China, local grow­ers are exper­i­ment­ing with many dif­fer­ent olive vari­eties, such as Pendolino, Frantoio, Picual and Arbequina.

asia-business-pakistan-set-to-become-olive-council-member-olive-oil-times

A government farm worker manages drip Irrigation in Tarnab in Peshawar, Pakistan.

Many are also grow­ing a locally-bred olive vari­ety. A net­work of new lab­o­ra­to­ries, olive tree nurs­eries and pro­cess­ing infra­struc­tures, such as mills, is being expanded in many rural areas too.

Local experts explained that tra­di­tional farm­ing and mod­ern tech­niques would bring large por­tions of land to pro­duc­tiv­ity, cre­at­ing job oppor­tu­ni­ties and eco­nomic growth. Drip irri­ga­tion sys­tems are being deployed over 16,000 hectares and 3.6 mil­lion olive trees.

The Pakistani pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tors cur­rently main­tain 26 olive oil extrac­tion plants of dif­fer­ent capac­i­ties, from 80 kilo­grams per hour to 600.

The loca­tion of the plants is such to cover the needs of the olive plan­ta­tion areas,” Tariq said. In the phase-II olive pro­gram, six new extrac­tion units with a 350 kilo­grams per hour capac­ity will be installed by the pri­vate sec­tor in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.”

More than 12 olive nurs­eries also are work­ing in the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor reg­is­tered with the Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department of the gov­ern­ment of Pakistan.

See Also:Uzbekistan Joins Olive Council

Some of these nurs­eries have their own bud-wood mother blocks, or they get it from other reg­is­tered bud-wood mother blocks,” Tariq said. However, the main prop­a­ga­tion method is through cut­tings which have a lower suc­cess rate in pro­duc­ing olive nurs­ery plants indige­nously.”

The Pakistani gov­ern­ment has installed 12 dou­ble-shaded nurs­ery tun­nels with the usual facil­i­ties such as a mist sys­tem, tem­per­a­ture con­trol and an inter­nal drip irri­ga­tion sys­tem to improve the suc­cess rate.

The major ben­e­fit of these nurs­eries will be pro­duc­ing cer­ti­fied olive nurs­ery plants for achiev­ing self-suf­fi­ciency in the sec­tor,” Tariq said.

It is beyond any doubt that coop­er­a­tion from the International Olive Council in lieu of tech­nol­ogy trans­fer, research grants, inno­va­tions and other related areas will help a great deal in boost­ing the olive sec­tor in Pakistan,” he added.

In Pakistan, the International Olive Council (IOC) is active in sev­eral aspects of the olive devel­op­ment process.

The IOC encour­ages inter­na­tional tech­ni­cal coop­er­a­tion on research and devel­op­ment projects, train­ing and trans­fer of tech­nol­ogy,” Ghedira said. It enhances the envi­ron­men­tal impact of olive grow­ing and the olive indus­try. It also pro­motes world con­sump­tion of olive oil and table olives through inno­v­a­tive cam­paigns and action plans.”

Ghedira led an offi­cial IOC visit to Pakistan last November to wit­ness the olive sec­tor devel­op­ment plans, con­firm the gov­ern­men­t’s inten­tion to join IOC and mon­i­tor the imple­men­ta­tion of IOC stan­dards.

Discussions focused on the pos­i­tive impact of the IOC’s mis­sion to Pakistan, the var­i­ous meet­ings with the Pakistani author­i­ties and pri­vate sec­tor stake­hold­ers and the vis­its to dif­fer­ent regions of the coun­try,” Ghedira said.

They con­cluded that Pakistan has real poten­tial and ade­quate human resources to suc­ceed in its olive sec­tor devel­op­ment plan while point­ing out that tech­ni­cal train­ing is nec­es­sary before start­ing this plan to adopt good prac­tices and avoid costly rec­ti­fi­ca­tions after the fact,” he added.

Tariq under­lined how rel­e­vant the inter­est of farm­ers through­out the coun­try is prov­ing.

They are inter­ested in get­ting olive trees as this sec­tor is in a devel­op­ment stage,” he said. Training pro­grams on dif­fer­ent aspects of the olive value chain, includ­ing nurs­ery man­age­ment, orchard man­age­ment, pre- and post-har­vest value addi­tion and oil pro­cess­ing, are being arranged reg­u­larly in all provinces.”

A major focus of this train­ing is to empower youth and gen­der in the olive sec­tor for employ­ment gen­er­a­tion to uplift the social sec­tor in under­priv­i­leged areas,” he added.



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