ISLAMABAD: Pakistan, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) is efficiently supervising and implementing the activities of a mega olive project for olive plantation at 50,000 acres in Pakistan till 2019. PARC, being apex organization working in close collaboration with federal and provincial institutions in the country to provide science based solutions to agriculture of Pakistan through its statutory functions. PARC is working through nine declared documents in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA, Balochistan and AJ&K.
Acting Chairman PARC and DG National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC) Dr. M. Azeem Khan while chairing a meeting of the project stated that the Project has already completed plantation at an area of 7166 acres in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA, and Balochistan and 700,000 plants has been schedules to be planted in February – March, 2016. More than 600,000 cuttings and air layering were practiced for propagation purpose. Of which 20% of these cuttings will be saplings after two years.
Dr. Azeem Khan said the project has developed protocols of two olive varieties for propagation though tissue culture technology. Seven olive nurseries have been established so-far and 13 specialized nurseries are in the process of establishment at different components. Project has also established and managed olive mother blocks at all provincial components which will be useful for propagation of true to type olive plants. PARC is ready to purchase and install 11 oil mills of different capacity at suitable locations for quick processing of farmers produce, he added.
National Project Director (Olive), Dr. Nasir Mahmood Cheema stated that PARC is going to complete new olive plantation under olive commercial project at 8000 acres during 2015-16 beside 34 trainings conducted and 1250 persons trained at different districts under provincial components for orchard lay-out, orchard management, olive nursery raising and management, Geographic information system (GIS), harvest and post-harvest handling of olive fruit and value addition.
He said working on another aspect of this important crop to get maximum financial benefits, project has conducted different experiments on value addition of olive fruit for preparation of olive jam, pickle, murraba, syrup, bakery items, olive beauty cream and some other makeup items. To developed cottage industry in target areas, woman farmers are being trained to make olive products by utilizing their own fruit to up raise their standard of living. This activity will play important role in poverty alleviation of respective areas.
He further stated that working in olive sector at this massive scale will generate huge financial impact in the development of economy. Expected oil after 05 years of plantation from 50,000 acres is 14.0 million liters valuing Rs.28 billion. These activities also create employment generation at larger scale and develop cottage in the country near Pak-China Economic Corridor. Special Correspondent