Pakistan’s successful membership of the International Olive Council (IOC) will help to realise the country’s full potential for olive production, said Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam.
In a meeting on Friday, the minister voiced hope that the domestic value-added industry of olive would thrive with the inclusion of Pakistan in IOC, which would result in an increase in production of the crop.
Currently, Spain was producing 1.5 million tonnes of olive, which was half of the world output, he said, adding that through technology transfer, latest olive varieties and high-quality human resources, Pakistan could also become a top grower of olive globally.
He highlighted that currently around 36,000 acres of land was under olive cultivation in Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.
Talking about the significance of domestic agricultural produce, the minister stressed that Pakistan should learn from countries like the Netherlands, which exported flowers worth $24 billion and was the biggest player in the global flower industry.
He was of the view that Pakistan had immense potential to become the leader in mango exports worldwide. “Our production of mangoes is 1.7 million tonnes, of which only 7-8% is exported,” he lamented.
On the occasion, IOC Executive Director Abdul Latif Khadira said that Pakistan had met all requirements to become a member of the council.
“Pakistan has the potential to increase its olive production,” he said, adding that through IOC, the country could acquire latest technology, knowledge and climate-resistant olive varieties, which had the highest yield.
He was of the view that the council could also provide human resources training to transfer the skill set required to adopt latest technologies in olive production.
He invited the federal minister to attend the upcoming seminar on olive production in Georgia next month.
In the meeting, Tunisia Ambassador Borhene El Kamel highlighted that the topography of Balochistan was similar to Tunisia.
Terming Tunisia as the second largest producer of olive in the world, the envoy said that his country could extend technical support, latest technologies and techniques to Pakistan to increase the olive output.