Saturday, May 7, 2022

Olive Revolution: Pakistan Joins International Olive Council

Pakistan's Ten Billion Tree Tsunami project launched in 2014 by the PTI government has sparked a silent olive revolution in the country.  Pakistan, now the 19th member of the International Olive Council, is producing about 1,500 tons of olive oil per year and 830 tons of table olives,  according to Juan Vilar Strategic Consultants. It is also helping tackle some of the effects of climate change such as soil erosion and desertification and bringing new opportunities to farmers. Olive cultivation was started as a pilot project in Potohar region by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif's government in 2014. The PTI government promoted it nationwide as a part of Prime Minister Imran Khan's Ten Billion Tree Tsunami initiative to bring about the olive revolution in the country.  

Olive Valley, Pakistan

Pakistan is the world's third largest importer of cooking oil. In 2020, Pakistan imported $2.1 billion worth of palm oil, behind only India's $5.1 billion and China's $4.1 billion in palm oil imports. Increasing olive oil production will help the country reduce its dependence on palm oil imports. Substituting imported palm oil with domestic olive oil may also help improve the heath of Pakistani consumers. 

The International Olive Council (IOC) has 18 members, mostly European and Middle Eastern nations located in the Mediterranean region. Pakistan has joined as its 19th member. The IOC members account for more than 98% of global olive production. The IOC has been headquartered in the Spanish capital Madrid since it was founded in 1959.  The organization specifies acceptable quality control testing methods and assures consumer transparency information, for example: hygiene standards along the supply chain, suitable packing materials and filling tolerances product labelling standards, identification of any food additives or allowable contaminants, recommendations for environmental protection in the use and disposal of olive products.  


Olive Plantation in Peshawar, Pakistan. Source: Olive  Oil Times

Welcoming Pakistan into the organization, Mr. Abdellatif Ghedira, the IOC’s executive director, told Olive Oil Times: “In Pakistan, olive oil culture is making inroads, and so are the opportunities related to that .....The council is a decisive player in contributing to the sustainable and responsible development of olive growing, and it serves as a world forum for discussing policymaking issues and tackling present and future challenges".  

Olive trees thrive in dry arid regions with rocky soils that are more challenging for traditional crops. Pakistan government officials believe that olive farming is an efficient answer both to reforestation needs and economic development. “A special focus in this phase will be given to underprivileged areas of the country, such as Southern Balochistan, Southern Punjab, the tribal areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and some parts of Sindh province,” Muhammad Tariq, national project director at the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, told Olive Oil Times. 

It is expected that traditional farming and modern techniques would make large tracts of barren land productive, creating new jobs and growing the economy. Drip irrigation systems are being deployed over 16,000 hectares and 3.6 million olive trees. The Pakistani public and private sectors currently maintain 26 olive oil extraction plants of different capacities, from 80 kilograms per hour to 600, according to Olive Times.

Pakistan has the potential to be a world leader in olive production. In the last decade,  PTI's Ten Billion Tree Tsunami initiative has spurred rapid olive cultivation in Pakistan with the import of 100,000 olive seedlings from top olive producing countries like Spain, Italy and Turkey. Pakistan’s climate is conducive for olive production, as the olive trees grow fast in regions with moderate winters following long hot summers.

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Pakistan's Agenda at COP26 Climate Conference

20 comments:

Sabahat Ashraf said...

Aren't we mixing up two things?
The initiative for building an Olive industry is definitely a good thing. And if those pictures are from Pakistan, they are nice.
But we are still awaiting for any pictures of the Billion Tree Tsunami…or did I miss something?

Riaz Haq said...

Sabahat: "Aren't we mixing up two things?"

Read the reference I have cited from Olive Times.

https://www.oliveoiltimes.com/business/pakistan-to-become-olive-council-member/105121

"The nationwide Ten Billion Tree Tsunami project launched by the government to tackle some of the effects of climate change such as soil erosion and desertification complements the olive expansion projects meant to bring new opportunities to farmers"

Haroon said...

I recently visited Pakistan and drove from Islamabad to sialkot. I was so surprised that previously region of Pothohar from sohawa to Dina was barren but there is now a thick forest. And even people reported resurgence of wild life. Domeli and other areas are now think in forest.. Again on motorway from kalar kahar to chakri was allot of thick plantation of Morianga.

Riaz Haq said...

The olive revolution was started almost 10 years ago by Punjab government. I saw advertisement campaign of Pakistan produced olive oil first time on 2016..

https://www.dawn.com/news/754766/turning-potohar-into-olive-valley

Riaz Haq said...

FD: "The olive revolution was started almost 10 years ago by Punjab government"

It appears that the olive valley project was initiated by Shahbaz Sharif's Punjab government in 2012. It was later embraced by PTI government in KP and by Imran Khan at the federal level as part of its Ten Billion Tree Tsunami.

https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2020/04/25/kp-agriculture-dept-seeks-to-increase-pakistans-olive-exports/

Babar Raja said...

Sir this project started in 2005 at baari research Center Chakwal. Then an ngo called AgriTourism entered in this and did a festival at very year on it to attract govts of nawaz sharif , musharraf and zardari subsequently to keep paying attention and keep paying subsidies … when PTI govt came , we already were the biggest farmer of olives in the world. And in the next five years we will be the biggest olive producers in the world too. Imran khan continued this project and we thank him for that but he didn’t start this. For the past seven years I have been chairing this NGO …. Google National olive festivals by Agri tourism Agri Tourism Development Corporation of Pakistan.

Fawad Khan said...

Plants take several years to become fruit bearing. All of this started in 2015-2016.

https://www.oliveoiltimes.com/business/africa-middle-east/planting-300000-olive-trees-underway-pothohar-pakistan/52297

Malik Amin Aslam said...

Another reason why the Imran Khan 10 BillionTree Tsunami needs to continue with full momentum - it is a visionary initiative in Pakistan national interest

Riaz Haq said...

Under the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project, Pakistan is growing thousands of olive trees in its northwestern region – once considered a hotbed for terrorism activity.

https://www.oliveoiltimes.com/business/in-pakistan-efforts-to-grow-olives-in-underdeveloped-areas-begin-to-bear-fruit/105533

..after the federal government launched the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project in 2018, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province administration decided to plant thousands of olives as a symbol of peace in the region.

The provincial government’s forestry department has planted around 8,000 olive trees in Amangarh, a vast area of the country with little agricultural activity located around 40 kilometers northeast of the historic city of Peshawar.

Pakistan’s federal Ministry of Climate Change also launched the Olive Trees Tsunami Project in 2021, intending to plant four million hectares of olive trees.

After declaring the country’s land and climate suitable for olive tree cultivation, the ministry decided to plant trees in the southern region of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, tribal areas and northern parts of the province Punjab.

The Peshawar Divisional Forest Officer Tariq Khadim, looking after the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project in the province, told Olive Oil Times that 8,000 olive trees had been planted on 27 hectares of land.

All of the trees were sourced from the local nursery of the forest department, Khadim said.

He added that 2,000 hectares of barren land were allocated for a different plantation under the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project. The forest department separated 27 hectares for olives as the land was suitable for planting them.

Khadim said though the terrain was suitable for olive growing, less rainfall and low underground water level emerged as a challenge to water the olive saplings.

He said the forest department in this area installed 10 solar panels, established tube wells and set drip irrigation system to water the olive saplings.

“A 16,000-foot (4,900-meter) water pipe has been used for drip irrigation and smooth supply of water for olive saplings,” he said.

The forest officer added that more than 95 percent of olive trees had grown successfully in the last two years.

Khadim added that these trees would bear an average of 110 kilograms of fruit each after four to five years, resulting in the average production of 12 liters of olive oil.

“About 112,000 liters of olive oil will be produced annually from this area after the plants started fruit production,” Khadim said.

Tahir Malik, a professor at the National University of Modern Languages, viewed planting olives in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as a positive step after the Global War on Terrorism.

“People in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province suffered most in the country during the 20-year war in Afghanistan as they were on the frontlines when suicide bombings incidents were taking place from 2008 to 2013,” he said.

According to Malik, the conflict had severely negative psychological effects on people living in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tarnished the region’s reputation worldwide.

He said that growing olives in the region would create a more favorable political narrative for the people and the region.

“It will reflect that people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa want peace, not bombs,” he said.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an international body with the mandate of monitoring different projects of the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Project, has approved the plan to plant olive trees in the region.

Hammad Saeed, the organization’s project manager in Pakistan, said the plantations under the project had brought positive impacts for Pakistan.

“It has increased the forest cover area and generated the economic activity as well,” he said.

Saeed added that it was especially good to see a country already severely impacted by the effects of climate change taking serious steps in its mitigation.

Riaz Haq said...

Lauding the initiative undertaken by five public sector universities in Balochistan to plant olive groves on 500 acres of land, Balochistan Governor Syed Zahoor Ahmad Agha on Monday said it was a positive step as numerous districts of the province were suitable for olive cultivation.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2340287/olive-oil-processing-centre-inaugurated

Addressing the inaugural ceremony of the latest olive oil processing center at the Balochistan Agricultural Research and Development Center, the governor said 70 per cent olive cultivation of the country is being done in Balochistan.

“Thirty per cent olive oil is being extracted in Balochistan during the present era and olive oil is currently sold at three thousand per liter. My services are always available for the completion of any project which is for the benefit of the people,” he added.

Governor Agha further said the government would spend Rs600 billion on development projects in Balochistan to improve the living standard of locals. ”It was the responsibility of all agencies to provide guidance, assistance and access to the international market to the landowners of the province.”

It is pertinent to note that Balochistan has great potential for modernisation of agriculture and livestock sectors.

Earlier, the governor was informed in a briefing that the project worth Rs2 billion would provide machinery and other facilities to the farmers of Balochistan. This is followed by another project costing Rs4 billion in which farmers will be imparted three months training.

Both the projects are being launched from Balochistan.

Chairman Pakistan Agricultural Council Dr Ghulam Ali, FAO representatives Waleed Mehdi, Sabai, MD of Pak Oil Seeds Department Dr Khair Muhammad Kakar, Dr Nadeem Sadiq and Director Research Javed Tareen
were also present on the occasion.

Riaz Haq said...

Fawad: "Plants take several years to become fruit bearing. All of this started in 2015-2016"

A few olive seedlings planted by PMLN CM in one region (Potohar) of one province (Punjab) did not amount to a national revolution. PTI’s nationwide campaign of planting olive seedlings in KP and Balochistan is what made the olive revolution in Pakistan

Khalil said...

for cooking only use the 'Pomace' grade olive oil.
Extra Virgin is not to be heated to retain the healthy benefits of it. Use it to sprinkle on your prepared foods, dips, and salad dressing for maximum benefits and nutritional value.

Once the oil is heated up, it's not the same thing,
This oil is a juice more than oil.
Always consume it raw as it is.

Riaz Haq said...

Khalil: "Once the oil is heated up, it's not the same thing, This oil is a juice more than oil. Always consume it raw as it is"

Some sources put the smoke point of olive oil somewhere around 374–405°F (190–207°C) (17). This makes it a safe choice for most cooking methods, including most pan frying. Extra virgin olive oil's smoke point is somewhere around 374–405°F (190–207°C). This makes it a good choice for most cooking methods.



Normal cooking use is unlikely to oxidize or significantly damage olive oil.



However, it may degrade some of the antioxidants and vitamin E, which are sensitive to heat.



In one study, heating olive oil at 356°F (180°C) for 36 hours lead to a decrease in antioxidants and vitamin E, but most of the trace compounds were intact (18).



One of the main active compounds in extra virgin olive oil is oleocanthal. This substance is responsible for olive oil’s anti-inflammatory effects (19Trusted Source).



Heating olive oil at 464°F (240°C) for 90 minutes reduced the amount of oleocanthal by 19% according to a chemical test and 31% according to a taste test (20Trusted Source).



In another study, simulated frying for 24 hours reduced some beneficial compounds, but 10 minutes in a microwave or boiling in water had only minor effects (21Trusted Source).



The trace compounds in olive oil are also responsible for some of its flavor. Therefore, overheating olive oil can remove some of its taste.



Keep in mind that these studies use rather extreme conditions.



https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-olive-oil-good-for-cooking#nutrient-loss

Riaz Haq said...

Breakthrough project in Sindh turns Pakistan into palm oil producing country

https://www.arabnews.pk/node/1769666/pakistan


Oil content of palm fruit from Sindh's plantation in Thatta is 2 percent higher than the world average

Pakistan consumes 4.5 million tons of edible oil a year, of which some 90 percent is imported, mainly from Malaysia and Indonesia


Pakistan’s southeastern Sindh province has successfully completed a pilot oil palm cultivation and extraction project, putting the country on the list of palm oil producers.
An oil extraction facility at the site of the pilot oil palm plantation in the province’s southern Thatta district produced its first oil last week. The development is seen as a breakthrough for the South Asian nation which is heavily dependent on palm oil imports.

“The palm oil extraction is being done as a test run at the moment and the results are wonderful and very encouraging,” Muhammad Aslam Ghouri, secretary of Sindh’s Environment, Climate Change and Coastal Development which is running the project, told Arab News on Friday.


The Rs25 million ($157,000) pilot project started in 2016 on 50 acres of coastal land.

“In 2016, Malaysian experts came here and they studied everything including soil and environment and they certified that the fruit is very good,” Ghouri said. “The oil content of the palm fruit is 2 percent higher than the world average.”


The yield from the fertile soil is also encouraging as even 60 palm trees can be grown on each acre.


Pakistan consumes around 4.5 million tons of edible oil a year, of which some 90 percent is imported, mainly from Malaysia and Indonesia — the world’s biggest producers of the commodity.

While the Thatta oil extraction facility can produce only up to two tons of oil a day, Ghouri believes the reliance on imports can be greatly reduced if the Sindh project is expanded.

Seeing the project as a “game changer” for the province and country, the Sindh government has already allocated an additional 1,600 acres for palm cultivation, which it further plans to expand to 3,000 acres.

Ghouri said that ECC&CD has already invited farmers and private firms to show the “success story” and encourage them to invest and join the industry.
“Seeing the success of this pilot project we can safely say that in future when there is investment in this sector, private parties come in to start palm plantation and invest in oil extraction mills as we have shown that it can be done. Then this (less reliance on imports) can happen.”

Oil traders, however, say that there is a long way ahead before Pakistan will be able to offset the imports of the staple commodity.
“It is a step in the right direction that has a potential to substitute palm oil imports and save foreign exchange, but it would take time to make any meaningful contribution as the country imports on an average 100,000 tons of palm oil per month,” Ismail Wali, an oil trader at Jodia Bazaar in Karachi, told Arab News.
Farmers are less enthusiastic as they remember a similar initiative being undertaken in 1996 to develop the country’s vast coastal belt into an oil palm cultivation hub. For two decades the project was neglected, causing huge losses.
“We had imported expensive samplings of palm and planted over an area of 400 acres in Mirpur Sakro, Thatta district,” Mumrez Khan, a former oil palm farmer, told Arab News.

“We had to abandon the plantation in 2009 due to lack of support and required guidance from the government.”

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Punjab Govt releases schedule for spring sunflower cultivation - Pakistan Observer

By News desk -December 16, 2021

https://pakobserver.net/punjab-govt-releases-schedule-for-spring-sunflower-cultivation/

Cultivation of sunflower in Dera Ghazi Khan & Rajanpur will start from 15th December to January 31st , while the second phase includes Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Khanewal, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan, Layyah, Lodhran, Rajanpur, Bhakkar, Vehari and Bahawalnagar from 1st till 31st January.

In the third phase of sunflower cultivation Mianwali, Sargodha, Khushbab, Jhang, Sahiwal, Orkara, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Lahore, Mandi Bahauddin, Kasur, Sheikhupura, Nankana Sahib, Narwal, Attock, Rawalpindi, Gujarat, Chakwal.

Sunflower planting season is scheduled for January 15th to February 15th. Use 2 kg of hybrid seeds per acre for sunflower cultivation. Suitable types of sunflower include High Sun-33, T-40318, Agora 4, NKR Money, US 666, US 444, PAR Sun 3, Axon-5264, Axin-5270, S-278, HS. F-360A, Sun-7, Ori-648, Ori-516. It is very important to cultivate sunflower at the right time to get better yield because late planting not only reduces the yield per acre of sunflower but also reduces the quantity of oil. Pakistan imports Rs 300 billion worth of edible oil every year, which is a burden on the country’s economy.

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir

Pls pray that Imran Khan again becomes PM of the country otherwise these lousy and incompetent politicians who have just overthrown him and came into government will again take the economy and restructured system of Pakistan back to that same old corruption .

Anonymous said...

Do you really think the data shared by you is factious??
Do you really mean that Billion Tree Tsunami was launched in 2014 by PTI government???

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "Do you really mean that Billion Tree Tsunami was launched in 2014 by PTI government???"


Yes, the Billion Tree Tsunami was launched by PTI in KP in 2014.


Here's a 2021 Washington Post story excerpt:


August marks the beginning of monsoon season in Pakistan, and with the rain comes another busy stretch for the country’s ambitious tree-planting program.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, residents of all stripes, from government officials to Boy Scouts, fan out along the hills. They bring with them chinar tree saplings — which can grow to nearly 100 feet tall — along with other varieties, and they begin digging.

It’s all part of an effort that started in 2015, when Imran Khan — then a provincial politician and now Pakistan’s prime minister — backed a program dubbed a “Billion Tree Tsunami.” The initiative reached its provincewide target in 2018 and was so successful that federal officials expanded the drive nationally in 2019 with a new goal of 10 billion trees — or, the “Ten Billion Tree Tsunami.”

“Everyone is waking up and starting to plant,” lawyer and environmentalist Hazrat Maaz told The Washington Post at the time.

The program addresses Pakistan’s history of deforestation as the country confronts the realities of climate change in the form of hotter temperatures, melting Himalayan glaciers and intensifying monsoon rains.

“It makes us very vulnerable,” Malik Amin Aslam, Pakistan’s federal minister for climate change, said in a recent phone call. He has overseen both the provincial and national planting campaigns. “The cheapest, most effective and quickest way to fight climate change is to plant trees,” he said.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-solutions/interactive/2021/pakistan-tree-billion-tsunami-photos/

Riaz Haq said...

Third Pole report from May 2016:

https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/climate/pakistans-billion-tree-tsunami-takes-hold/

The project kicked off in June 2015 and so far 250 million saplings have been raised in largely private nurseries across KP. These saplings are now being planted across the province. Much of the hard work has already been done according to Malik Amin. “As this massive nurseries infrastructure is in place, it would be much easier to replicate this next year and take this number to 300 million saplings. The remaining 450 million saplings are being naturally generated in forest enclosures, which are being protected through the participation of local communities. All this will hopefully allow KP to achieve its target of one billion plantations by the end of next year”. This is a big jump from previous years when only about 20 million saplings used to be planted every year.

We recently visited Haripur district in KP to see how this ambitious project was progressing on the ground. Raees Khan, the district forest officer for Haripur, showed us around the “central model” government nursery in Nikkahpah near the main road. The nursery, which has grown around 600,000 plants since it was set up last year, was full of Chir pine saplings that would soon be ready for plantation. The nursery also had Kachnar saplings (a local variety) and Eucalyptus, which are thirsty trees that could dry out the sub-soil water. Eucalyptus are being grown on popular demand of local communities as the fast growing species can bring economic returns within five years, explained Raees Khan.

Some ecologists have warned that the campaign will be futile because the wrong species of trees are being identified for the wrong places. Lal Badshah, an ecologist and assistant professor at Botany department in University of Peshawar, is one such critic. He told News Lens Pakistan that conocarpus – a tropical mangrove species found along rivers in limited coastal areas – are being planted in the mountainous Peshawar region,

Malik Amin rejects such criticisms: “A high preference is given to indigenous varieties for the local areas. In the south, where there are marginal and water logged lands, the Eucalyptus plantations aid in lowering the water table,” he said.

These nurseries have now sprung up in almost every district of KP, from Chitral in the mountainous north to Dera Ismail Khan in the southern plains. Most are privately owned and the demand is increasing.

Under the “youth nurseries” package, the provincial government provides a secure buyback agreement for unemployed youth or rural women to set up kitchen nurseries – with about 25,000 saplings – as well as a 25% of costs in advance. The nursery can then earn around PKR 12,000 to 15,000 (USD 115-143) per month, which is a sizeable income in the area. In fact, most of the small scale or household nurseries are currently being run by rural women who have managed to enhance their income.

Riaz Haq said...

A crucial bridge in northern Pakistan collapsed on 7 May after a glacial lake outburst.

https://www.euronews.com/green/2022/05/10/pakistan-bridge-is-swept-away-in-severe-flash-flooding

This was caused by a recent heatwave, which released huge amounts of water into the stream and surrounding areas, local media reported.

Experts are saying the water volume at the Shisper glacier lake had increased by 40 per cent over the past 20 days due to unusually high and abrupt temperature rises in the north of the country.


Pakistan recorded its hottest April in decades with Jacobabad touching 49C.

They also added that rapidly melting glaciers have created more than 3,000 glacial lakes in the northern areas and 33 could burst soon. This would send torrents of water coursing through streams, which is very dangerous.

In Hassanabad, local officials helped those affected and ensured that people were not stranded due to the flooding.

“A compact bridge would be temporarily installed to restore traffic,” while construction of a permanent bridge would take about seven to eight months, National Highway Authority chair Muhammad Khurram Agha said, according to Gulf News.

Traffic was diverted to an alternate route and heavy transport vehicles were barred.

There has been no loss of life, officials said.