ISLAMABAD, Jan 10 (APP): More than nine advanced oil extraction plants have been installed to harness the increasing olive oil production on commercial scale for farmers.

The oil extraction units were installed under Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) to promote olive cultivation to reduce reliance on imported edible oil for catering domestic requirements, said Dr Ahmad Tariq.

While, talking to APP here on Sunday he said out of these nine plants, three have the capacity of 600 kg per hour extraction and six units have capacity of 100 kg.
All the basic accessories like harvesting baskets, oil analyzer for quality analysis, filling, capping sealing machine and olive oil storage containers had been installed within these machines, he added.

These oil extracting units had important part of olive value chain in the country and
would serve as pull factor for the uplift of this sector, he remarked.

PARC is endeavouring to promote local production of extra-virgin, chemical free olive
oil. It was also striving to impart basic training to growers for attaining higher output to maximixe farm income, he added.

Dr Tariq further informed that olive cultivation on commercial scale was initiated in Pakistan through Italian funded project back in 2012. Following the encouraging results, government of Pakistan launched a PSDP- funded project “Promotion of Olive Cultivation on commercial scale in Pakistan” during 2014, he added.

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According to an estimate about 2.90 million plants on 25,600 acres has been planted so far, he said.

He informed that under various projects olive fruit is being harvested in considerable
quantity in the country and it was the need of hour to provide olive processing units in major olive growing region to facilitate the farmers at their doorstep and to ensure that economic benefits of the olive cultivation could be directly be passed to the farmer.

It is worth mentioning here that to promote olive farming on large scale for reducing the reliance on imported edible oil as well as to encourage high value agriculture,
about 2.3 million olive plants to be cultivated during current season.

Average 500,000 to 600,000 olive plants per annum is being cultivated, he said adding that survey teams have also started their feasible studies in order to identify the area for coming cultivation drive.

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He further informed that besides promoting olive, as many as 10 plants producing nurseries have also been established in collaboration with public and private sectors to fulfill the local needs.

From these local nurseries about 1 million plants would be obtained this season, he said adding that these plants would be 100 percent certified by the Federal Seeds Registration and Certification Authority.

Dr Tariq further informed that olive cultivation in the country has been gaining momentum as local output during the current season projected to cross 11,000 tonnes, showing a significant development towards reducing reliance on the imported edible oil
as well as to exploit the export potential of this particular agriculture produce.

“The country is expecting to extract about 13,000 tonnes of extra virgin olive worth millions of dollars that would help to boost the farm income with less investment and use of inputs,” he added.

So far olive has been successfully cultivated over 27,000 hectares of land across the country and it was set to extend its cultivation to over 70,000  hectares to turn the marginal lands into productive for enhancing the income of small scale growers, he added.