Pakistan boasts 10 million acres of appropriate olive-growing area, nearly twice as much as Spain, the world’s top producer of olive oil. Olive trees do not compete with other fruit trees, cereal crops, or oil crops in these places since they can survive in dry, desert circumstances that are unsuitable for other crops.
The Pakistani government intends to grant olive oil marketing and branding accreditation to the private sector in order to boost olive farming. By 2022, the goal is to have planted over 50,000 acres across the country. Pakistan is now the first country in South Asia to join the International Olive Council.
According to Inam ul Haq, a horticulturist at Chakwal’s Barani Agricultural Research Institute, the local administration has gone to great lengths to subsidize olive growing. “Since 2015, the Punjab government has provided subsidies to local gardeners in order to transform the Potohar region into a ‘Olive Valley,’ supplying free olive seedlings for planting.”
Nearly 1.4 million olive trees have been planted in the Potohar region in the last five years, spanning nearly 9,000 acres of land. The project took use of territory that was less fertile and undeveloped.
In addition, the government has granted up to a 70% subsidy on solar power systems and roughly a 60% subsidy on drip irrigation systems, with an estimated 800 people benefiting and converting their less fertile land into olive orchards. The government has also granted a 50% subsidy to agricultural machines such as shakers that may be required during harvest seasons.
The benefits of cultivating olive trees are self-evident. They can meet local demand for edible oil while reducing trade deficits, while also mitigating climate change and successfully addressing the question of water security. It’s no surprise that provincial governments have offered subsidies to encourage the production of olive trees.
Despite its late start, the quality of olive fruit produced in Pakistan is among the greatest in the world due to its good climate and geographical location. According to Inam ul Haq, the quality of olive oil produced in Pakistan is nearly identical to that produced in well-established olive-producing countries. According to Farhan Pasha, a recent competition in Italy awarded the top grade to Pakistani olive oil from Quetta.
Olive fruits are currently harvested using a variety of conventional methods, including knocking, manual harvesting, and chemical ripening harvesting. Hand harvesting is the most common method in Pakistan. Other countries have used mechanical harvesting, but we have yet to do so.