Italy to fund olive cultivation project
By Amin Ahmed
An area of over 800,000 hectares in 28 districts of
Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has been identified
having great potential of growing olives, and if exploited
this source will considerably reduce the country’s import
bill for edible oils, officials said.
The identification of the huge potential was possible after
the completion of a one-year project of ‘Promotion,
production and commercialisation of olive oil in Pakistan,’
funded by the Italian government.
Under the project, which was implemented by Florence-based
‘Instituto Agronomic per l’Oltremare’ (IAO), a branch of the
Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, an olive oil extraction
plant of 400-kg per hour capacity has also been commissioned
at the Tarnab farm of Pakistan Oilseed Development Board (PODB)
The success of the project has encouraged the Italian
government to fund another project aimed at utilising the
cultureable wastelands, forest lands and sub-mountainous
areas for large-scale cultivation of olive.
The Rs382 million project Commercialisation and promotion of
olive and olive products for economic development and
poverty alleviation is in final stages of approval with the
Ministry of Food and Agriculture for onward submission to
the Planning Commission for consideration by CDWP.
The IAO and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture will soon
enter into a memorandum of understanding for collaboration
in the identified areas of cooperation and launching the
project in September.
The project to be funded under the Pakistani-Italian Debt
Swap Agreement, also aims to strengthening partnership with
private sector for olive cultivation and oil extraction
through public-private partnership arrangements.
The Italian agricultural institute has appointed Mr Raffaele
Del Cima as coordinator for the project in Pakistan.
Speaking to newsmen at the residence of Italian ambassador
here on Wednesday, Mr Cima estimated that one ton of oil can
be extracted from olive trees spreading over one hectare of
Talking about the export of olive oil from Pakistan, Mr Cima
stated that the foremost priority should be meeting the
demand of olive oil within the country. Pakistani olive oil
would find best market in China being a neighbour having
Mr Cima disclosed that IAO was in the process of starting a
technical assistance programme to support fruit and
vegetable growers in the Swat valley that would help
improvement of production and marketing in the horticultural
A delegation of IAO accompanied by Ambassador Vicintzo
Parati held a meeting with the Federal Minister for Food and
Agriculture Nazar Mohammad Gondal to review the ongoing
cooperation for olive production in Pakistan.
Ambassador Vicintzo Parati said that Italy is willing to
help Pakistan achieve self-sufficiency in the oilseed
production in the country.
Courtesy: The DAWN