Pakistan, Italy team up to enhance local olive production

Project to cost €1.5 million, aims to improve food security and cut imports


Our Correspondent November 23, 2022
PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD:

A meeting of the Steering Committee, on Olive Culture Holistic and Multi-Professional Mechanism, for a Pakistani Olive Oil Value Chain project was held at the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (NFSR) on Tuesday.

The olive project, funded by the Italian government, is an initiative that aims to build a multi-professional olive and olive oil value chain in Pakistan to enhance production and improve food security through technical assistance and training of the stakeholders.

The governments of Pakistan and Italy are jointly executing the project through the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM-Bari), Italy, the Italian Agency for international cooperation, Pakistan Oilseed Department and the NFSR at a total cost of €1.5 million.

The NFSR Secretary, Zafar Hasan said, “Every year we spend our precious foreign reserves on the import of edible olive oil. This project will help to replace imports with domestic production.” The secretary hoped that the private sector will multiplicate the project and carry it forward.

Addressing the occasion, Italian Ambassador Andreas Ferrarese said, “Pakistan has a huge potential for olives and Italy will continue to support the country in olive production.”

Project Director Marco Marchetti apprised the forum about its progress saying preliminary assessments are now complete and policy support in drafting the Olive Policy was also being provided to the government of Pakistan.

“In the first olive harvesting season of the project (Sep 2022-Nov 2022), field trainings on good agronomics practices were provided, along with guidance on olive processing protocols and hygiene safety in Balochistan, Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP),” explained Marchetti.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 23rd, 2022.

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