The Ministry of Agriculture in Pakistan has been looking at ways to promote olive cultivation in the country to create a significant export opportunity for the farmers. The ministry has identified Punjab as a major potential state for olive cultivation. A detailed plan has been prepared for scientific cultivation of olives in Punjab and neighboring areas.
The plan has short-listed Sialkot, Rawalpindi, Narowal, Jhelum, Gujrat, Islamabad, Khushab, Chakwal and Attock districts in Punjab as areas with serious potential for olive cultivation. Experts in the government are of the opinion that a boost to indigenous olive cultivation can help produce substantial quantities of olive oil, leading to import substitution and saving the country’s precious foreign exchange.
Barani Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) in Chakwal district in Punjab has conducted extensive research to determine areas that have an ideal prevailing environment, soil type, temperature range and average rainfall to suit the cultivation of olives. The plan aims at using marginal lands for olive cultivation so that the farmers will not have to replace their existing crops to accommodate olive plantations.
The agriculture department of the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (SMEDA) in Punjab is conducting training and awareness programs on modern olive cultivation techniques for the farmers. A number of large farmers in Punjab have already shown keen interest for olive cultivation. Olive oil producers will also be offered training in producing value added products of export quality.