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Olive farming potential in Pakistan highlighted

By Our Correspondent
December 01, 2023

Islamabad: Pakistan can become self-sufficient in edible oil within a decade if the immense potential of olive farming and millions of wild olive trees across Pakistan is realised. If harnessed to its full potential, indigenous olive oil production in the country can help save a staggering $4.5 billion spent annually on importing edible oil and lead to a thriving olive export market.

This was observed during a discussion at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Islamabad, organised to shed light on Pakistan’s expanding potential in olive cultivation.

In this picture, women sort freshly harvested olives on October 29, 2023. — AFP
In this picture, women sort freshly harvested olives on October 29, 2023. — AFP

The discussion, moderated by Naufil Shahrukh, GM Operations, IPS, was addressed by Khalid Rahman, chairman, IPS, Dr Faiyaz Alam, general secretary Dua Foundation, Shabbir Soomro, author and journalist, and Dr Ghufran Saeed, Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Karachi.

Dr Faiyaz Alam and Shabbir Soomro have also recently co-authored a book on the history, status and potential of olive farming in Pakistan.

While introducing the work, -Pakistan Main Zaitooon Ki Kashat - Tareekh, Tajurbat, Aur Imkanaat, Soomro highlighted that despite Pakistan having around 85 million wild olive trees, their full potential remains unexplored even by local people due to a lack of awareness and knowledge about the resource. The book, the culmination of extensive research, interviews, and expertise, addresses this gap in understanding and aims to bridge the awareness deficit that has hindered the exploration of this rich resource. He said that with an emphasis on nationwide awareness, the book endeavors to enlighten readers about the immense possibilities and benefits hidden within Pakistan’s olive trees. Dr Faiyaz Alam emphasised the transformative impact of arid agriculture.