`Wastelands for Olive Farming in Punjab - Olive Oil Times

Wastelands for Olive Farming in Punjab

By Sukhsatej Batra
Feb. 1, 2016 08:33 UTC

The Punjab Government in Pakistan plans to use the nat­u­rally well-drained soil and cli­matic con­di­tions of Punjab waste­lands to pro­mote olive farm­ing.

Several dis­tricts in Punjab — Sialkot, Narowal, Gujrat, Jhelum, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Attock, Chakwal and Khushab — have been iden­ti­fied as suit­able for cul­ti­va­tion of olive trees, accord­ing to the Daily Times, Pakistan.

The deci­sion to grow olive trees in the mar­ginal and waste­land areas of Punjab has the advan­tage of not inter­fer­ing with the cul­ti­va­tion of other crops already pro­duced in the region. According to Pakissan.com, Pakistan’s Largest Agricultural Web Portal, Punjab has 1.74 mil­lion hectares of cul­tur­able waste­land.

The pro­gram to plant olive trees by the Punjab gov­ern­ment would not only increase the use of waste­lands for farm­ing pur­poses but also pave the way for Pakistan to become self-suf­fi­cient in pro­duc­tion of edi­ble oil to meet the needs of the nation.

At present, Pakistan only pro­duces 34 per­cent of edi­ble oil required for domes­tic needs, while 66 per­cent of edi­ble oil is imported. The Daily Times of Pakistan reports that the poten­tial of olive oil pro­duc­tion in Punjab could dra­mat­i­cally cut imports of edi­ble oil and be eco­nom­i­cally ben­e­fi­cial for Pakistan.

In an effort to pro­mote olive farm­ing and max­i­mize crop yields from olive farms, the Agriculture Department in Punjab is train­ing its peo­ple on opti­mal olive cul­ti­va­tion tech­niques and olive prod­ucts.

The Punjab Government also has plans to cre­ate an Olive Valley” over the next five years on 50,000 acres of land in the Potohar region of Punjab, an area that has ideal soil and cli­matic con­di­tions for olive cul­ti­va­tion.

A sem­i­nar hosted by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of Agriculture, Government of Punjab in November 2015 dis­cussed oppor­tu­ni­ties and chal­lenges faced in the devel­op­ment of an olive val­ley in the Potohar region of Punjab.

Government of Punjab has planned to develop the Potohar tract as olive val­ley for which a project with cost of PKR 2782 mil­lion ($26.5 mil­lion) is being imple­mented. Under this project 15,100 acres will be brought under olive cul­ti­va­tion by pro­vid­ing 2.0385 mil­lion plants free of cost in five years,” stated the sec­re­tary of the Punjab Department of Agriculture, Sheheryar Sultan.

In addi­tion to increas­ing olive cul­ti­va­tion, the Punjab gov­ern­ment aims to increase pro­duc­tion of sun­flower oil in the region by uti­liz­ing 87,000 acres of land for sun­flower cul­ti­va­tion.


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