CHAKWAL-Adviser to Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam on Sunday revealed that efforts have been stepped up to launch a large-scale “Olive Tree Tsunami” programme in those regions of the country hit by recurring water shortages, droughts and plunging groundwater levels.

Taking to media here, the adviser said that forest officials have been directed to devise a viable national plan for cultivating 50 million olive trees as a part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Programme in consultation with all provincial and federal stakeholders on urgent basis, which will target particularly smallholder farmers in the country’s drought-hit areas in Punjab, Balochistan, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa,

Amin Aslam highlighted that the olive tree plantation on such a huge scale would be boosted with construction of rainwater harvesting storage ponds in drought-hit areas and use of efficient irrigation technologies and practices.

He said rain-dependent regions, including Potohar region, across the country can be turned into a food baskets by promoting large-scale olive tree plantation, where agriculture sector is struggling with frequent drought conditions, falling rainfalls and irrigation water shortages.

Since olive is a drought-tolerant staple plant, he added, efforts would taken to increase olive farming area in the Potohar region’s Chakwal, Attock, Jhelum and Rawalpindi districts as well as various others water-stressed districts of Balochistan and Khybr-Pakhtunkhwa, which suffer frequent drought conditions because of declining rainfalls.