India’s leading agricultural state of Punjab has failed to execute its ambitious olive cultivation project that was launched with much fanfare in 2008.
The government-controlled Punjab Agro Industries Corporation (PAIC) had announced its plans to introduce olive farming with a view to diversifying the state’s agricultural basket. PAIC selected the Israeli olive cultivation firm Indolive as its partner for the project.
Initial groundwork on the project was carried out by PAIC’s subsidiary Agri Exports Corporation (Pagrexco). It studied Indolive’s successful olive plantation project in the Indian desert state of Rajasthan. PAIC identified 400 acres of land for the project at Ladhowal in Punjab with an aim to replicate the success achieved in Rajasthan.
However, a recent inquiry made into the progress of the project by a leading Indian newspaper has revealed that the much-publicized launch of the project was never followed up with real action on the ground.
The authorities have admitted that no olive variety was selected for the project. Poor planning, lack of research, and a failure to maintain proper monitoring of the project on part of the state government led to the project’s natural death even before its inception.