Being agriculture oriented country, Pakistan’s government should seriously work on this sector as it is the backbone of our economy. Industry is already shutting down, instead of expanding due to power shortages.

Pakistan spends approximately $ 2bn on edible oil imports, despite being an agriculture country and having the best terrain for cultivation of edible oil trees like Olive oil we have done nothing. Temperature, rainfall, soil and other factors suits olive production in the Potohar Region, comprising of districts Rwp, Chakwal and Attock. Although government has started a program and declared Potohar region as ‘Olive Valley’ last year but no progress has yet been seen. There is still lack of awareness. So mostly farmers in villages are unaware of this scheme and even don’t know that their land can be so beneficial. They are still producing peanut and wheat. So Olive cultivation is not getting any public commendation.

The government needs to take steps to get this policy across to the farmers, they should be provided incentives as well as induced to move to this more lucrative harvest. An Olive tree is ready in 4-5 years, which is a long period for a farmer to wait as they live from season to season. Farmers can be provided monetary aid during the lean years. With more health conscious people, the use of Olive oil as edible oil has increased. Also the government should establish a market for these new crops.

AQIB SHAHZAD BHATTI,

Islamabad, May 8.