Islamabad: The government has set an ambitious target of increasing olive oil production up to 20,000 tons annually by 2027.According to the details acquired from the climate change ministry and the...
Islamabad: The government has set an ambitious target of increasing olive oil production up to 20,000 tons annually by 2027.
According to the details acquired from the climate change ministry and the ministry of national food security and research, Pakistan has 10 million-acre suitable land for olive plantation, almost double than Spain which is currently the largest olive oil producer in the world. In this area, the crop will not compete with other fruit trees, cereal or oilseed crops.
The inspection and survey teams will carry out their work in various areas including Bahawalpur and Cholistan to identify varieties of the olive plants that are suitable in these their local conditions.
The olive plants will be able to survive in dry and arid conditions that are generally inhospitable for other crops. The estimated olive oil production capacity for the ongoing season is approximately 1,400 tons.
The number of nurseries is quite limited at the moment due to which Pakistan has been importing certified olive plants from foreign countries.
A lab and a mobile unit for clinical and sensory testing of olive oil quality are also being set up for certification under the project.
Once new groves have been established and olive oil is being pressed annually in the modern mills, the next step will be to garner international interest for Pakistani extra virgin olive oil.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam has said the plantation of olive plants is now part of the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami programme and its aim is to reduce dependency on foreign edible oils and become a new player in the olive oil world.
“Pakistan began producing olive oil back in 2010, benefiting from strong agricultural coordinated efforts with Italy and Spain as well as commercial cooperation with China,” he said.
He said that the government wants to boost olive oil industry from relative obscurity to international recognition in the coming years.