700,000 olive plants to be planted in February
As part of its mega olive project for olive plantation at 50,000 acres in the country till 2019, the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) would plant 700,000 new olive plants across the country during February, March, 2016. "The project has already completed plantation at an area of 7166 acres in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA, and Balochistan", said Acting Chairman of PARC Dr. M. Azeem Khan while chairing a meeting of the project here. He said more than 600,000 cuttings and air layering were practiced for propagation purpose.
Of which, he said 20 percent of these cuttings would be saplings after two years. Dr. Azeem Khan said the project had developed protocols of two olive varieties for propagation though tissue culture technology. Seven olive nurseries have been established sofar and 13 specialized nurseries are in the process of establishment at different components. Dr Azeem said the project had also established and managed olive mother blocks at all provincial components which would be useful for propagation of true to type olive plants.
PARC is ready to purchase and install 11 oil mills of different capacity at suitable loca- tions for quick processing of farmers produce, he added. He said PARC, being apex organization was working in close collaboration with federal and provincial institutions in the country to provide science based solutions to agriculture of Pakistan through its statutory functions.
National Project Director (Olive), Dr. Nasir Mahmood Cheema said that PARC was going to complete new olive plantation under olive commercial project at 8000 acres during 2015-16 beside 34 training conducted and 1250 persons trained at different districts under provincial components for orchard lay-out, orchard management, olive nursery raising and management, Geographic information system (GIS), harvest and post-harvest handling of olive fruit and value addition.
He said working on another aspect of this important crop to get maximum financial benefits, project has conducted different experiments on value addition of olive fruit for preparation of olive jam, pickle, murraba, syrup, bakery items, olive beauty cream and some other makeup items. To develop cottage industry in target areas, woman farmers are being trained to make olive products by utilizing their own fruit to up raise their standard of living.