A total area of 5,665ha will be planted with 120,000 olive trees in Balochistan province, southwest Pakistan, as part of a campaign to promote olive cultivation and increase the production of edible oils, Olive Oil Times reported on 19 March.
Half of the new saplings were grown in nurseries on-site while the rest were imported from Italy.
The project was part of a campaign by the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council to promote the province’s agricultural sector while introducing alternative crops for local farmers, the report said.
There were also plans to build a new olive oil mill in the provincial capital, Quetta.
In other parts of the country, there were plans to plant three million olive trees in the northernmost region of Gilgit-Baltistan to combat soil erosion, landslides and flash flooding.
Some 2.4M olive trees were also being planted in the Pothwar region in Pakistan’s northeastern corner under a current five-year project running until 2020, also managed by PARC.
Olive Oil Times said olive oil was already produced in Pakistan, along with a number of other products for the domestic market such as olive jam, chutney, pickles and olive-derived products such as olive syrup, olive vinegar, olive sweets and olive tea.
Other projects in the country have included training programmes for local farmers in olive cultivation, processing and pest control, and the setting up of oil extraction mills, according to Olive Oil Times.