Tuesday, May 18, 2010



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By. Amer Rizwan
The importance of pure, hygienic and nutritious edible oil for a healthy human life cannot be overestimated. In Pakistan despite ever-increasing demand for the edible or cooking oil and the yawning gap between the capacity of localized production and its demand, we have not been able to seriously focus on evolving an oil-producing strategy in the past. In the recent years, however, the Government has started encouraging and supporting the national production of edible oils such as canola, sunflower and soybean as well as exploring the possibility of sustainable production of other kinds of edible oils such as coconut, palm and Olive.

Olive is universally considered to be one of the most nutritious and wholesome sources of edible oil. Pakistan is one of those countries which are naturally endowed with vast forests of wild genre of olive, popularly known as Kau. Lack of awareness among the local populace and lesser government attention are primarily responsible for the increasing depletion in these olive forests mainly for fuel and other consumptive uses. Now courtesy the Government of Italy, an Italian variety of olive budding is being grafted in these remaining wild olive plants in NWFP, Baluchistan and Punjab provinces where the climate for the self-growth of olive is very congenial. Besides, siblings of the variety have also been cultivated in a great number in these areas. The actual national policy is to target the marginal land in remote hilly areas of the country, where no or few other crops may be cultivated, and generally considered as unproductive land. Soils are basically stony, infertile and are often placed on steep slopes. These are considered to be the most suitable conditions for the growth of Olive plants.
The project Promotion of Production and Commercialization of Olive Oil in Pakistan was launched in July 2007 courtesy the Italian Institute of Agronomy and its project counterpart Pakistan Oilseed Development Board. The latter is working under the administrative control of the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock.

Some of the initial targets of the project were the location of suitable areas for olive growing. One of the primary objectives of the programme is to create awareness among the local people to produce olive on their own as a cash crop.

In Tarnab farm near Peshawar, the plants are being given to the farmers hailing from the adjoining areas of Charsadda, Mardan, Takhtbhai, Swabi and Noshehra. Just view these grafted plants at the farm. They comprise all types of varieties. However, grafting, nourishing and looking after the plants need painstaking vigilance and technical expertise. At the farm, the farmers from other areas of the province get technical guidance as to how to go about the procedure of grafting.

Two significant projects in this regard are at Nikka Darra and Garam Thoon in Khanpur where at about 4 square kilometers area, four to five thousand such plants have been grown and developed. Grafting a plant is not a simple process; it needs deftness and not all the time it is braced with success. Some of the grafted plants have already started yielding fruit here. A single Olive tree yields about 20 to 40 kg of Olive fruit. Besides, using the Italian variety, Egyptian and Saudi Arabian varieties are also being grafted to get the positive results.

A continuous oil extraction unit is being used at Tarnab Farm Peshawar for demonstration and training purposes. The unit has been imported from Italy and it is meant to extract oil from the fruit. Fruit is put into the machine from an opening and after thoroughly cleaning it, the fruit is sent to the grinder where the edible oil is extracted. The liquid is passed through a final cleansing process and then the purified oil is seen oozing through a pipe to different containers. The farmers from other districts process their Olives and extract from them oil free of cost. This is mainly to encourage the farmers to grow and graft Olive plants. The machine has the capacity to process 500 kg of Olive per hour
Interview of Engineer

A recent study has revealed that almost as many as 800,000 hectares of land is suitable for this crop. It also recommends the cultivation of olive in better growing environments than those considered so far. This would also allow for high scheme plantations provided with irrigation systems and higher degree of mechanization.

Haripur Fruit Nursery Farm is yet another facility where Australian Olive plants are used for budding and grafting. The process has turned the local variant into an olive producing Olive plants.

One of the pressing imperative in this regard is to train the technicians at different levels and for the creation and improvement of the necessary infrastructures and facilities in support of this sector. Although the production of olive oil will mainly be marketed in Pakistan to satisfy the growing local demand for the product yet in the longer run its export to the other countries of the region can also be explored.

The locally produced olive oil would significantly help to improve the diet of the local people by providing them better quality nutritious oil especially compared with other kinds of fats being used currently. Moreover the introduction and commercialization of this crop in Pakistan would create more jobs for the local population, especially in areas in which farmers are facing difficulties in generating a reasonable income through traditional crops.
Posted by AMER RIZWAN at 3:01 AM

1 comment:


As Salaam O Elakum

Dear All,

I am buying olives from any where in Pakistan and from Oil to achar, drinks, and bakery products