KP project for olive
Tahir Ali Khan
27, 2011: A Rs60 million project for planting olive trees in
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been proposed in the provincial
“The project is based on public-private partnership. The
agriculture department will provide certified olive
saplings, technology and guidance to farmers while the
orchard owners would provide land and labour. We have signed
MOUs under which farmers would give a certain portion of
their olive plants to the government for extension
purposes,” said Ahmad Said, the chief planning officer in
the provincial agriculture department.
The project is for lands on which major food crops are not
grown. Olive is a strong plant that needs little water and
and can be grown anywhere, even in mountainous areas,” he
Ahmad says around 60 per cent area of KP was suitable for
olive cultivation. If we could utilise even 20 per cent of
it by planting new olive plants, it will reduce oil import
bill besides increasing the incomes of millions of farmers
and providing them with healthy oil for domestic
“We are trying to standardise the olive production
technology as has been done in Italy which is growing
millions of olive plants in a very short time. We have
proposed another project for tissue culture technology
through which plants can be grown in shortest possible time.
The existing mechanism of fruit cultivation and
fructification takes years. The tissue technology can
produce millions of plants and ensure fruit-bearing sooner
than usually possible,” he informed.
“While the public sector is trying its best to provide
maximum certified olive plants to growers, we are
facilitating and registering plant nurseries in the private
sector. These nurseries will be regularly monitored to
ensure quality of production of the fruit plantlets. We hope
this way the use of non-fruit bearing olive plants would be
minimised,” he added.
With only Rs10 million out of the total earmarked sum of
Rs60 million have been allocated for the project in the next
year’s ADP, it may take another five to six years for the
project to be completed unless fund allocations are enhanced
Pakistan faces a widening gap between edible oil
requirements and domestic production which is bridged by
huge imports of edible oil and oilseeds.
Over 60 per cent of the tribal belt has wild olive trees
that can be converted into fruit-bearing species.
According to an Italian expert Raffaele Del Cima, the
province has over 444,574 hectares of cultivable wasteland
which is suitable for olive cultivation. According to
another estimate, well over 880,000 hectares could be used
for olive cultivation.
There are an estimated 31 million wild olive trees in KP and
tribal belt that bear no or a seed-sized fruit. Converting
them into European type fruit bearing olive through
budding/grafting procedure in the next few years should be
the foremost priority of the government as it will help
produce an estimated 75,000 tons of olive oil. The Pakistan
Oilseeds Development Board has recently converted some wild
olive plants in KP into fruit bearing trees. Italy, the
world’s biggest olive producer with 1.2 million hectares
under olive cultivation, has helped Pakistan to convert its
wild olive plants into fruit-bearers, and also with new
The government and private sector need to cooperate for
improving cultivation and harvest techniques in olive
production, species selection, nursery management, oil
analysis and the operation of oil extraction units.
By providing quality seed, modern training and marketing
mechanism to the farmers, olive cultivation and yield could
be considerably increased. The government may also encourage
farmers to set up olive oil extraction units in different
parts of the province.
Courtesy: The DAWN