Revered in ancient Greek, olives have long been heralded as a symbol of peace. Almost 50% of the world’s total olive oil is produced by Spain while the rest comes from countries such as Italy, Turkey, Greece and Morocco. Pakistan is not an olive oil producing country even though a naturally occurring ‘wild’ olive subspecies called ‘Olea Cuspidata’ is found in different parts of the country.

Currently, about 75% of all edible oil, including palm and soy, worth more than Rs 2 billion is imported by Pakistan annually. But the country eventually hopes to become self-sufficient to meet its local edible oil demand.

Muhammad Rafiq Dogar, Director, Barani Agriculture Research Institute Chakwal told APP that the government was striving to promote large-scale olive cultivation by planting 10 million more olive trees over 75,000 acres of land. That’s a significant jump from the present number of 3.6 million olive trees.

The drought-resistant olive plant doesn’t require a lot of water to survive and is well-suited for Pakistan’s northeastern Pothwar region that is being developed as an “Olive Valley.”

Soon on its way to becoming a full member of the International olive council, the country plans to produce 16,000 tons of olive oil by 2027 and hopes to become an olive oil exporter in addition to fulfilling local demand.

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