ISLAMABAD: National Food Security and Research Minister Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan said on Tuesday that promotion of olive cultivation would not only help Pakistan save precious foreign exchange but would also facilitate in reducing its imports.
Addressing the inaugural session of ‘International Conference on Olive Orchard Management and Value Chain Development’ at the National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC), Islamabad, the minister said there existed considerable potential of olive cultivation and promotion in Pakistan, adding that provision of scientific knowledge and technological advancements to farmers was imperative to promote olive cultivation in the country.
“Considering the huge potential in economic development, the pace of olive plantation and resources to carry out the plantation on mega level needs to be enhanced,” he asserted. “Advanced knowledge on olive cultivation, brought in by our foreign-qualified experts, may bring about significant changes in the livelihood of our farmers.”
He said the government was striving hard to resolve the problems of the farmers’ community which they face starting from production to marketing of their commodities.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan recently declared his keen interest to grow trees and his team is working on various relief packages for the farmers of Pakistan,” the minister said. “I am sure our sincere efforts will help uplift agriculture in Pakistan and will reduce the burden of the farmers.”
The minister appreciated that the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) and PMAS Arid Agriculture University have carried out successful steps for promotion of olive cultivation.
In welcome speech, PARC Chairman Dr Yusuf Zafar indicated that there were tremendous opportunities with regard to olive cultivation in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Potohar region.
“Italy has been interested in the promotion of olive cultivation in Pakistan and the presence of the Italian envoy in the conference is evidence of this interest,” he added.