`Indian State of Punjab Gears up for Olive Cultivation - Olive Oil Times

Indian State of Punjab Gears up for Olive Cultivation

Sep. 25, 2012
Vikas Vij

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India’s agro-based state of Punjab, also known as the gra­nary of India’ has chalked out a com­pre­hen­sive plan to intro­duce olive cul­ti­va­tion across the state in a major way. The goal is to boost crop diver­si­fi­ca­tion, and a deci­sion to grow olive plan­ta­tions was announced by the offi­cial spokesper­son of the Punjab gov­ern­ment.

The state gov­ern­ment has already approved a pilot project for olive cul­ti­va­tion fol­low­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion by a pri­vate com­pany and Rajasthan Olive Cultivation Ltd. (ROCL) before the state’s chief min­is­ter, Prakash Singh Badal. The state’s deputy chief min­is­ter said: The con­cept of olive cul­ti­va­tion will have two ben­e­fits: one the exten­sive health ben­e­fits of olives, and sec­ond that farm­ers can jug­gle between diver­si­fied crops.”

Surinder Singh Shekhawat, Deputy Director of Rajasthan Agricultural Competitive Project, spoke about the prospects of Punjab as an olive pro­duc­ing state: If a desert state (like Rajasthan in India) can grow (olives), Punjab will reap big­ger ben­e­fits. The promise of olives is attract­ing lead­ing olive oil man­u­fac­tur­ers to tap India’s grow­ing demand for healthy cook­ing oil.”

Punjab’s finan­cial com­mis­sioner for devel­op­ment, G.S. Sandhu, has been given the task to draft a detailed pol­icy to pro­vide sub­sidy to the farm­ers inter­ested in olive cul­ti­va­tion. Sandhu says, At present, almost 100 per­cent of olive oil is imported. This will save the for­eign exchange as world­wide there are only few areas which are suit­able for olive cul­ti­va­tion.”

Many olive cul­ti­va­tion experts already believe that the cli­matic con­di­tions of Punjab are aptly suited for the cul­ti­va­tion of high yield­ing vari­eties of olives.

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