RAWALPINDI  - A workshop on processing of olive value-added products was held at Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) on Thursday.

The workshop was organised by PMAS-AAUR Department of Horticulture in collaboration with Olive Foundation Pakistan and USAID Punjab Enabling Environment Project (PEEP), with an aim to train the women on preparation, packing, marketing and storage of olive value-added products. Pro-Vice Chancellor PMAS-AAUR Dr Nadeem Abbasi was the chief guest at the inaugural session while Chief of Party USAID PEEP Muhammad Junaid, Business Enabling Environment Specialist USAID PEEP Asad Zahoor and Horticulture Specialist USAID PEEP Ghulam Ishaq were also present on the occasion.

The workshop helped build capacity of 70 women involved in household kitchen gardening and olive farming, female university students and women agriculture extension workers to prepare olive value-added products including pickle, jam and tea.  This workshop will also support employment creation in the olive sector, while olive value-added product development and marketing will lead to generation of commercial activity for economic empowerment of women in the Potohar region of Punjab. This activity will further promote investment in small businesses in the region.While addressing, Dr Nadeem Akhtar Abbasi stressed on the value addition of the olive produce and said that there is dire need to promote research on olive plants and allied aspects to ensure food security in the country.

He emphasised on olive cultivation and said that Pakistani land is very much suitable for it and said that processed olive produce has tremendous export potential due to high demand in export market. He appreciated the efforts of organizers and hoped that this workshop will help for the promotion of this sector. USAID PEEP is a seven-year project working towards enhancing private sector-led growth in the horticulture, livestock and dairy sub-sectors of Punjab through policy reform advocacy and institutional capacity development.