The Government of Punjab has announced they will provide 473,500 olive saplings free to farmers as part of their five-year project to develop olive groves in the region’s ‘Olive Valley.’ To qualify for the saplings Farmers must meet certain criteria and submit their applications by the tomorrow.
The project aims to promote local production of olive oil and reduce the hefty import bills for edible oils. The Barani Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) advocates cultivating 250 trees per hectare of land with an expected olive oil yield of 600 liters. With the price of olive oil in Pakistan standing at around Rs 500 (AU$5.5) per liter, farmers could bring in Rs 300,000 (AU$3,360) if they used a hectare of their land for growing olives.
The Provincial Agriculture Department have laid down specific rules and procedures that farmers are required to comply with in order to qualify for the imported saplings. Farmers who have adequate irrigation facilities to nurture an olive grove and those who qualify for a 70 percent subsidy towards irrigation are in line to benefit from the free olive trees.
Over a million olive trees have already been planted in the Pothwar region of the Olive Valley, which spreads across; Rawalpindi, Chakwal, Jhelum, the Attock district of Potohar, Mianwali and Khushab, according to BARI.
Earlier this year 120,000 olive trees were planted in Pakistan’s south-west Balochistan province as part of a campaign launched by the Pakistan Agriculture and Research Council (PARC). Half of the saplings were reared in Pakistan and the remainder were imported from Italy. More