The government has planned to enhance olive oil production and processing areas in 12 districts of Balochistan to bring 6,000 acres land for cultivation of olive orchards.
According to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture sources, during the five years, 675,000 plants in these districts which are considered as low delta crop for mass propagation of olive oil would be planted. The sources said to standardise the propagation and cultivation techniques for mass production of olive plants nurseries would be developed during the period. The official said that about 6,000 acres or equivalent number of trees would be developed as orchards on farmers’ field during the project period.
The sources said that 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 water deficiency for all kinds of crops particularly olive orchard. The sources said that fresh and positive experience on Olive cultivation in some selected location of the region performed mainly in horticulture Fruit Experimental Station Baghbana (Khuzdar), Fruit
Experimental Station Loralai and Fruit Development centre Quetta, Pishin,
Mastung, Kalat, Kharan, Noshki, Barkhan, Musakhail, Zhob, Sibi (Harnai) has given good indication for promotion of this crop. The sources added that this fact was the most suitable orchards in these areas.
About purchase and installation of machinery and equipment, the sources said during the period one green house was already set up at Quetta and 2nd olive oil processing units were imported from Italy recently and three shade house were built at Quetta at Loralai for the purpose. The sources added in this regard 72.22 per cent target of processing of olive had 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 were 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 justification of this project, the official said that Pakistan was 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 almonds, pomegranates and grapes, the official said. Olive fruits are very important for the human consumption because they were utilised as a fruit after a natural process as table olives and for extraction of virgin Olive oil, which was considered the best fat for our food preparations, he added. The residual parts of the processing operations like the kernels and the dehydrated pulp was utilised for fuel and animal feed or as fertilizer, he added.
“Small branches and leaves, if are not used for propagation purpose, are again utilised 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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