By Rafiullah Mandokhail
ZHOB (Parliament Times): In order to promote the olive farming and cultivation in the province, Balochistan Agriculture Research and Development Center Quetta, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund and Balochistan Rural Support Programme organized a day-long training for farmers on the olive cultivation under Pak Olive and Promotion of Olive Cultivation on Commercial Scale in Pakistan projects. Around sixty growers from different parts of the district participated in the training. Olive cultivation techniques, orchard management, grafting, pruning, irrigation and post plantation care were the major components of the training.
Director General BARDC Nadeem Sadiq, Scientific Officers Abdullah Baloch, Javed Ahmed, Project Manager BRSP Rajab Ali, Director Agriculture Bazmir Khan and District Programme Manager BRSP Quttab Khan imparted the training.
They said the comprehensive training was aimed at familiarizing farmers with international best practices for olive cultivation and enhancing the potential of olive farming across the poverty-hit Balochistan.
‘Olive tree usually bears fruit after 4 years and an olive tree could bear 40-80kg fruit, if sufficient care is provided. The climate, temperature, soil, rainfall and other factors in Zhob valley suit olive cultivation,’ they said.
DPM Quttab Khan on the occasion said that an oil processing unit has been installed in Zhob that has the capacity to extract two hundred and fifty liters olive oil per hour.
Meanwhile, fifty thousand saplings of ten different varieties of olive including Arbequina, Arbosona, Ascolana, Gemlik, Chemlali, Jerboui, Bari-1 and Bari-2 distributed among the farmers.
Talking to this scribe, Director Agriculture Bazmir Khan said that olive forests resist drought and help absorb greenhouse gases. Olive fruit produced edible oil of high nutritional value, which could also be used to meet local demand besides its export.
‘Pakistan is blessed with different climatic zones and diverse landscape. The country has more potential than Spain – the leading olive producer in the world,’ adding the provincial government was making tangible efforts for enhancing olive production in Balochistan to improve livelihood of the marginalized people of Balochistan.