ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal on Wednesday chaired a meeting on olive cultivation and was briefed that a total of 240,000 olive plants were purchased while 11,565 plants were distributed among component units and plantation on 115 acres has been completed.

The minister informed this while chairing a meeting on olive cultivation. Senior officials from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and NARC (National Agricultural Research Centre also attended the meeting. The meeting discussed the project for the promotion of olive cultivation on commercial scale in Pakistan. The project would cost Rs2,444.545 millions. The project aims at commercial level cultivation of olive on 50,000 acres in the country. The minister was briefed that a total of 240,000 olive plants were purchased while 11,565 plants were distributed among component units. The minister was informed that plantation on 115 acres has been completed. He was further informed that propagation of 5,25,000 olive cuttings and air layering have also been practiced.

The minister said that Pakistan would develop infrastructure for mass-scale production of olive nursery plants and provision of olive extraction units through this project. He further maintained that the government through this project wants to develop and train human resource for value addition in agricultural sector. Olive cultivation in Balochistan is producing extra ordinary results. The minister stated that Italian and Spanish ambassadors have assured to provide full technical assistance on boosting olive cultivation in Pakistan.

The minister said that the biggest challenge for a country like Pakistan is to bring stability in prices to sustain in the competitiveness. “Similarly, we need to assess our actual demands for domestic and export needs,” he added. He also suggested formulation of an inter-province agriculture committee to collectively address the inter-provincial agricultural issues.