ISLAMABAD – More than nine advanced oil extraction plants have been installed to harness the increasing olive oil production on a commercial scale for farmers. The oil extraction units were installed under the 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 the 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 an important part of the olive value chain in the country and would serve as a 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 maximise farm income, he added. Dr Tariq further informed that olive cultivation on a commercial scale was initiated in Pakistan through Italian funded project back in 2012. Following the encouraging results, the government of Pakistan launched a PSDP- funded project “Promotion of Olive Cultivation on a commercial scale in Pakistan” during 2014, he added.
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 the hour to provide olive processing units in the 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 the 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 feasibility studies to identify the area for coming cultivation drive.