ISLAMABAD, Dec 29 (INP): The Present Government attaches high priorities to agriculture sector to enhance production of agricultural commodities in the country for food security as well as to improve socio-economic condition of farmers. The Govt is also focusing a lot on the promotion and cultivation of olive as it is foremost priority for future planning. Very nice work is being carried out under the olive project for the benefit of farmers. But we have to move forward scientifically and utilize the marginal lands only for olive cultivation so that prime land may be utilized for other cash crops. Through promotion and cultivation of olive in Pakistan we can minimize our oil import bill and save foreign exchange.
This was stated by the Federal Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR) Mr. Seerat Asghar during his visit to Barani Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) Chakwal and olive plantation site.
Dr. Muhammad Tariq, Director (BARI) Chakwal welcomed the Secretary MNFSR, Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad, Chairman PARC, Dr. M. Azeem Khan, DG NARC, Dr. Muhammad Munir, Member (C&M) & NPD (Olive) PARC and other senior scientists of PARC. He highlighted research activities and achievements of BARI and said olive is a future cash crop of Potohar area.
On this occasion Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad, Chairman PARC urged the scientists that research results should reach at farmers field so that farmers can benefit from our research, new knowledge and innovations. He appreciated the efforts of PARC and BARI olive scientists for promotion and cultivation of this important crop in the Potohar Region.
On this occasion Dr. Muhammad Munir, Member (C&M) & National Project Director (Olive Project) PARC said we have successfully completed olive plantation over 3100 acres in Pakistan and in future 5000 acres of land will be brought under olive cultivation. All the lands under olive will be marginal lands and no prime land will be use as this crop can flourish on marginal lands. He said during 2014-15, 25-30 tons of olive fruit has come in market in Pakistan and it will further increase in coming years. He said PARC has signed MoUs with private sector. In Chakwal we have signed a MoU with M/s. Unique Value (Private) Limited, Chakwal. As a result of these MoUs, olive products are sold in the market. PARC facilitating the companies in purchasing fruit, ensure maintaining the quality of products and quality testing facilities. The private companies are playing their important role for the olive promotional as well as expansion of use of olive oil and other value added products of olive i.e. olive cake, pickles, jam, murraba, biscuits and other products.
During the visit, Secretary MNFSR visited laboratory of BARI and olive plantation site. On this occasion Secretary also planted olive plant at BARI Chakwal.