Govt to graft 0.5mn olive trees for oil

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The government has planned to encourage olive cultivation across potential areas with grafting of wild olive trees spread over thousands of hectares to reduce reliance on costly imported edible oil and to promote indigenous output of oil seeds in the country, a statement said on Tuesday.

The center launched a pilot project of wild olive trees grafting in different areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, erstwhile FATA, Balochistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Potohar region to exploit existing potential of olive cultivation, said Ahmad Tariq, national project director of Olive cultivation.

Initially, grafting would be done over 0.5 million wild olive trees in above mentioned areas, besides providing essential training to farmers of the areas to enhance their farm income.

The government, in collaboration with Italy, has also initiated an Olive culture project to improve regulatory framework and quality of locally produced products to encourage its output as well as exports, Tariq revealed.

He added that Italian experts were providing special training to promote olive cultivation, besides oil extraction fulfilling international standards and quality, which could help locally produced olive oil get international recognition.

Tariq said work on olive value chain and value addition was also gaining momentum in the country and different projects were completed with public-private partnership to enhance income of local farmers, particularly small scale growers. He said so far, olive cultivation was completed over 40,000 hectares and it was gaining momentum due to its demand locally as well its exports scope, adding that promotion in olive production would also help address health hazards by ensuring supply of quality edible oil to domestic consumption.

It’s worth mentioning here that the country imported about 2.802 million tons of palm oil costing $3.549 billion to tackle with local needs, besides importing over 143,539 metric tons of soyabean oil valuing $197.156 million during fiscal year 2022, as compared the imports of the corresponding period of last year.