Federal government has planned to enhance olive oil production and processing areas in 12 district of Balochistan to bring 6000 acres of land for the cultivation of olive orchard.
According to the ministry of food and agriculture sources during the five years, 675000 plants in these districts which are considered as low delta crop for mass propagation of olive oil would be planted.
The sources said that to standardize the propagation and cultivation techniques for mass production of olive plants nurseries would be developed during the period.
The official said that about 6000 acres or equivalent number of trees will be developed as orchards on farmers’ field during the project period.
The sources said that the research wing of Agriculture Department has given a serious consideration to the problem of the drought in the region searching all possible solutions to overcome the crisis pertaining to the water deficiency for all kinds of crops particularly the olive orchard.
The sources said that the fresh and positive experience on Olive (olea europea L.) cultivation in some selected location of the region performed mainly in the horticulture Fruit Experimental Station Baghbana (Khuzdar), Fruit Experimental Station Loralai and Fruit Development center Quetta, Pishin, Mastung, Kalat, Kharan, Noshki, Barkhan, Musakhail, Zhob, Sibi (Harnai) has given good indication for the promotion of this one of the crop. The sources added that this fact is the most suitable orchards in these areas.
About the purchase and installation of machinery and equipment the sources said that during the period one green house was already set up at Queatta and 2 olive oil processing units were imported from Italy recently and three shade house were build at Quetta at Loralai for the purpose.
The sources added that in this regard 72.22 per cent target of processing of olive has already been achieved.
The sources said that as the olive oil extraction unit have come in the country therefore the demand of olive plantation have been increased and people are taking interest in conversion of wild olive trees not European type in their area therefore the need and requirement of the project have been increased.
About the justification of this project the official said that Pakistan is importing edible oil worth billion of Rupees annually. Promotion of Olive will help to reduce import bill considerably.
At the same time olive plant is drought tolerant therefore the water requirements is much lower then Apple, Peaches and Apricots and closer to the Almonds, Pomegranates and grapes, the official said.
Olive fruits are very important for the human consumption because they are utilized as a fruit after a natural process as table olives and for the extraction of virgin Olive oil, which is considered the best fat for our food preparations, he added.
The residual parts of the processing operations like the kernels and the dehydrated pulp is utilized for fuel and animal feed or as fertilizer, he added.
Small branches and leaves, if are not used for propagation purpose, are again utilized as fertilizer during the prouning operations in winter season, he said.
The wood is of high value because it is finally graded and used for making handicrafts.
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