LAHORE - Olive is one of the high value crops being used worldwide for edible-oil-extraction and Pakistan can explore the huge potential available for its cultivation by adding proper training and technology.

It was observed by the speakers at a national training workshop organised by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA), in collaboration with USAID Punjab Enabling Environment Project (PEEP) and Barani Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) for development of Olive sector value chain, Chakwal. The speakers of the workshop included Prof Giuseppe Lopriore, an Italian expert in nursery and olive orchard management, Prof Alessandro Leone, Italian Expert of Harvesting Technology, Prof Riccardo Guidetti, Italian Expert of Olive Oil Cultivation, Sheharyar Tahir, Head External Relations Department, SMEDA and Mohammad Faysal, Chief of Olive Oil Division Pieralisi Company that is considered to be a pioneer in olive oil machinery manufacturer, established in 1888 in Italy.

In the first session of the workshop, Prof Lopriore gave a detailed presentation on best practices and techniques based on Italian model. An on-farm training session was also hosted by Izhar Farms to incorporate practical learning for the participants, where Prof Lopriore gave practical demonstration on plant management techniques and answered questions from the participants. During subsequent sessions of the workshop, Prof Leone gave an overview of harvesting and post harvesting techniques and technology being used in Italy. While Prof Riccardo spoke about olive oil industry and areas that Pakistan needs to focus in order to being a major olive oil producer of the region.

Faysal also participated in the programme to provide insight in the latest Italian technologies in olive oil processing. He said that there is lot of potential for adopting latest technology by establishing service center to cater to farmers growing olives on small scale.

The audience were of unanimous view that Pakistan, despite having huge potential for Olive Oil cultivation, could not develop plantation on commercial scale due to lack of proper training and technology. They appreciated SMEDA for filling in this gap by initiating training to explore this sector through the help of Italian experts.