`Pakistan Promotes Olive Cultivation in Punjab

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Pakistan Promotes Olive Cultivation in Punjab

Dec. 6, 2011
By Vikas Vij

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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.

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