`Olive Farming in India’s Rajasthan Rolls On - Olive Oil Times

Olive Farming in India’s Rajasthan Rolls On

Oct. 15, 2012
Vikas Vij

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Four years ago, India’s desert state of Rajasthan launched the country’s first pilot project for olive cul­ti­va­tion. The project is now yield­ing promis­ing results with the plants hav­ing matured. The oil con­tent in the seeds under this project is aver­ag­ing about 15 per­cent, which is well within the inter­na­tional stan­dards. Project lead­ers are con­fi­dent that the oil con­tent will enhance as the plants mature fur­ther.

According to Ajay Pachori, COO of the project, Out of the seven vari­eties of olives for which field tests were con­ducted, four have been found to be suit­able for the Rajasthan’s agro-cli­matic con­di­tions.” The suc­cess of exten­sive field tri­als at the state-owned farms in Rajasthan has encour­aged the state gov­ern­ment to extend the scope of cul­ti­va­tion of olive crop to pri­vate farms from this year.

The Deccan Herald reported that Prof. Simon Levi, an Israeli agri­cul­ture sci­en­tist who is a rec­og­nized author­ity on olives, made a visit to Rajasthan recently. He was impressed with the results in the pilot phase and favored com­mer­cial cul­ti­va­tion of olives in the state. The con­di­tions for olive cul­ti­va­tion are con­sid­ered ideal in the Sri Gangangar, Hanumangarh, Naga¬ur and Bikaner dis­tricts of Rajasthan, which expe­ri­ence extended peri­ods of chill in the win­ter sea­son.

Pachori said, We are grad­u­ally intro­duc­ing the cash crop to farm­ers in these areas. This year we have set a tar­get of 300 hectares. Six clus­ters of 50 hectares each will be formed in four dis­tricts of Sri Ganganagar, Hanumangarh, Bikaner and Nagaur.” Olive farm­ing experts believe that clus­ter approach will be most ben­e­fi­cial in the region. Cluster approach will help us pro­vide free tech­ni­cal con­sul­tancy to the farm­ers for the first three years,” Pachori said.

Rajasthan Olive Cultivation Limited (ROCL), which is spear­head­ing the project in the state, has ambi­tious plans to con­vert this pilot project into a major com­mer­cially suc­cess­ful ven­ture in the years ahead. Pachori said, We have already received appli­ca­tion for 200 hectares and in 40 hectares the sow­ing has already been com­pleted. Our tar­get is to bring about 5,000 hectares under olive cul­ti­va­tion in the next three years to make it a com­mer­cially viable ven­ture.”

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