ISLAMABAD - Khalid Mahmud Mirza, Joint Secretary (Plan) Ministry of National Food Security, has said that the government is emphasizing a lot on the cultivation of olive as it is foremost priority for future planning and very nice work is being carried out under the olive project for the benefits of farmers.

We have to move forward scientifically and utilize the marginal lands only for olive cultivation so that prime land may be utilized for cash crops.  Experts focus on promising varieties of olive and explore it in other suitable areas of the country including AJK and FATA for socio-economic uplift of farmers and to meet domestic edible oil requirements, he said while chairing Planning Meeting of Olive Promotion/Cultivation in Pakistan Project at PARC headquarters.   PARC in collaboration with Italian Govt organized a Planning Meeting of a project. Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) Chairman Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad also joined the meeting.

 and he said that olive can change the fate of country as we have millions of hectare marginal land is available in Pakistan which is not under any utilization. By utilizing that land we can not only fulfill the country requirement but also can export it. However we have to go further systematically learning from the previous experience.

Italian experts Dr Luigi and Dr Vertusi also highlighted various aspect of olive promotion in Pakistan and shared their technical experience with the participants. In this meeting, the olive experts presented their achievements and progress made so far and future working strategy.

On this occasion, PARC Senior Director (Crops) and National Project Director (Olive) Dr Muhammad Munir told that most of the plants planted previously are un-identified and now these plants are at fruiting stage but cannot be utilized for multiplication as the variety is unknown.

By spending millions of rupees, we are identifying these through DNA finger printing and NIGAB NARC is doing this work which is highly technical and sophisticated. Dr Ramzan told that uptil now we have identified 10 varieties of unknown plants. Dr. Munir (NPD) also told that 1300 acres of land has been brought under olive plantation and the whole land is marginal which was previous not utilized under any crop. 124 trainings has been conducted and more than 500 farmers has been trained in olive cultivation, nursery establishment and making products from olive fruit. Nine nurseries has been established which will provide thousands of true to type plants for the farmers to meet the demands of farmers. Five processing mills installed in Punjab, KPK and Baluchistan are providing processing facility to farmers free of cost & hundreds of farmers are benefiting from it

Dy PD (Olive) Dr Nasir Mahmood Cheema said it necessity to devise a mechanism for the visibility of orchards under the project. So it was decided to use GIS and GPS systems. Our main objective to utilize GPS and GIS tools in the olive sector to develop a system which will show information about the suitable areas of olive and olive orchard available in all the provinces of Pakistan including AJK and FATA on internet.