`Pakistani Government Launches Agricultural Development Program - Olive Oil Times

Pakistani Government Launches Agricultural Development Program

Jun. 27, 2022
Paolo DeAndreis

Recent News

The gov­ern­ment of Pakistan has announced a new national action plan to improve yields by mod­ern­iz­ing its agri­cul­tural sec­tor.

New tech­nol­ogy in the fields, pro­cess­ing facil­i­ties and aqua­cul­ture will be deployed to strengthen the related pro­duc­tion chains.

There is a need to approach com­mu­ni­ties that are most affected due to cli­mate change… Water scarcity lies in poor water gov­er­nance in Pakistan.- Imran Khalid, direc­tor of gov­er­nance and pol­icy, World Wildlife Fund Pakistan

Mechanization for har­vest­ing and post-har­vest­ing processes will also be pro­vided for by the plan, which will include funds for germplasm resources and fish­ery sci­ence and pro­mote trade and coop­er­a­tion in agri­cul­ture.

According to the APP local news agency, the plan includes estab­lish­ing foot-and-mouth dis­ease-free zones, an inter­ven­tion to improve live­stock health.

See Also:Olive Farmers in Pakistan Seek Government Assistance to Scale Production

The offi­cial doc­u­ment cited by the local sources falls short of detail­ing the amount of funds des­tined for the plan’s spe­cific actions.

Instead, it states that expected results for the agri­cul­tural sec­tor in the next fis­cal year should reach almost 4 per­cent growth com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year.

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However, these results depend on a full recov­ery of cot­ton and wheat pro­duc­tion and the avail­abil­ity of agro­chem­i­cal prod­ucts and seeds. Water scarcity is also cited as a poten­tial draw­back for yields.

Among the goals of the plan is to reduce costly food imports. According to ProPakistani News, the coun­try is expected to import €8.7 bil­lion in food prod­ucts by the end of the cur­rent fis­cal year. Currently, its for­eign exchange reserves have dropped to €9.3 bil­lion. Last year, Pakistan reported food imports of €8 bil­lion.

One of the biggest con­cerns for the coun­try’s food pro­duc­tion capac­ity comes from extreme weather events.

Pakistan has been suf­fer­ing a pro­longed drought, aggra­vated by a record-break­ing heat­wave, which brought many areas of the coun­try over 50 ºC.

Dozens of peo­ple died from exces­sive heat, and mas­sive wild­fires are sweep­ing across large areas.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has warned that such events are trig­ger­ing food and energy short­ages, which could impact Pakistan and India, affect­ing more than one bil­lion peo­ple.

Extreme heat has major reper­cus­sions for the agri­cul­tural sec­tor,” said Sumalee Khosla, UNEP’s cli­mate change adap­ta­tion finance expert. Climate-related heat stress will increase drought and exac­er­bate water scarcity for irri­ga­tion.”

This impacts farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties and poten­tially cre­ates fur­ther food secu­rity issues in affected coun­tries,” she added.

In a work­shop held in Islamabad, Pakistani offi­cials and reli­gious rep­re­sen­ta­tives agreed on the urgency to act against water scarcity.

The goal of the work­shop was to iden­tify areas of coop­er­a­tion among dif­fer­ent social, insti­tu­tional and eco­nomic actors to reduce water waste and improve infra­struc­ture. One of the most sig­nif­i­cant issues is the avail­abil­ity of clean drink­ing water.

According to Imran Khalid, direc­tor of gov­er­nance and pol­icy at the local branch of the World Wildlife Fund, only one per­cent of waste­water is treated in Pakistan.”

There is a need to approach com­mu­ni­ties that are most affected due to cli­mate change,” he added. We have to learn from the com­mu­ni­ties fac­ing issues in real-time. We have to rely on indige­nous prac­tices in rural areas. Water scarcity lies in poor water gov­er­nance in Pakistan.”

In this com­plex sce­nario, the cur­rent gov­ern­ment is con­tin­u­ing the olive grow­ing expan­sion projects devised by the pre­vi­ous admin­is­tra­tion. They fit into a broader push to boost edi­ble oil pro­duc­tion to reduce imports.

According to an olive researcher at the Barani Agricultural Research Institute (BARI), in the last 20 years, sev­eral fed­eral and local admin­is­tra­tions have sup­ported the olive expan­sion projects, which expanded to approx­i­mately 12,000 hectares.

Muhammad Ramazan Anser said many more efforts are under­way, as local enti­ties have iden­ti­fied even more areas for future expan­sion of the olive groves.

The researcher has also empha­sized the sig­nif­i­cance of the new agree­ments between farm­ers, pub­lic author­i­ties and pri­vate com­pa­nies, paving the way for new pro­cess­ing resources and adding value to the sec­tor by build­ing brands and mar­ket­ing.

Such activ­i­ties, he said, should also make it eas­ier to attract young gen­er­a­tions to agribusi­ness.

According to Anser, some of the expan­sion projects are devel­op­ing drip irri­ga­tion. One of the goals is to start pro­duc­ing oil from five mil­lion wild olive trees in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh and Azad Kasmir.

The Pakistani author­i­ties are cur­rently work­ing with the International Olive Council to sup­port and fos­ter the fur­ther expan­sion of the olive grow­ing projects.


Know the Basics

Things to know about olive oil, from the Olive Oil Times Education Lab.

  • Extra vir­gin olive oil (EVOO) means that the oil is sim­ply juice extracted from olives, with­out any indus­trial pro­cess­ing or addi­tives. It must be bit­ter, fruity and pun­gent — and free of defects.

  • There are hun­dreds of olive vari­eties used to make oils with unique sen­sory pro­files, just as many vari­eties of grapes are used in wines. An EVOO can be made with just one vari­ety (mono­va­ri­etal) or sev­eral (blend).

  • Extra vir­gin olive oil con­tains healthy phe­no­lic com­pounds. Substituting a mere two table­spoons of EVOO per day in place of less healthy fats has been shown to improve health.

  • Producing high-qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil is an excep­tion­ally dif­fi­cult and costly task. Harvesting olives ear­lier retains more nutri­ents and extends shelf life, but the yield is far less than that of fully ripe olives that have lost much of their healthy com­pounds.



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