Staff Reporter Peshawar
Provincial Minister for Environment and Forests, Muhammad Ishtiaq Urmar here on Sunday said that over 70 million plants of wild olive trees were discovered in KP out of which grafting in 40 million would be achieved in next five years with assistance of Agriculture Department.
‘The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Forest and Agriculture departments have joined hands for grafting in 40 million wild olive trees in next five years and subsequently its plantation under 10 Billion Trees Afforstration Project (10BTAP) following discovery of about 70 million wild olive trees in the province,’ he told.
‘We have around 70 million wild olive trees in KP including merged areas. In some areas, these plants are inaccessible due to remote mountainous areas.
We would give priority to grafting in wild olives in accessible areas with an assistance of Agriculture Department for whopping afforstration under 10BTAP in next two years’, said Ishtiaq Urmar.
He said Agriculture Department’s research institutes would be used for grafting in olive trees under the project.
The Minister said ‘olive and bees flora plants besides fruits for all’ have been included in 10BTAP and its plantation was already started.
Officials said over 35 crore olive trees were found in merged areas as climate of Bajaur, Kurrum, Khyber, Orajzai and Waziristan districts were suitable for its plantation.
Likewise, grafting in about 500,000 wild olive plants were made and olive orchards on 12,000 acres were raised.
The Minister said half of targets of plantation i.e 500 million plants under 10BTAP would be achieved by June this year.
Ahmad Syed, Project Director, KP Olive Trees told APP that about 10.41 million olive trees would be planted by Federal Government in the country including Khyber Pakthunkhwa on commercial basis under Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) during 2021-26.
He said that olive trees plantation has been expedited across the country including KP following its formal inauguration by Prime Minister Imran Khan at Nowsehra district.
He said It is a five-year project under which new olive orchards on 75,000 acres government and private lands would be raised by 2026.
Ahmad said about 10.41 million olive plants would be planted besides grafting in 10 million wild olive would be achieved in the country under this project.
In KP, new olive orchards on 30,000 acres land with approximately 4.02 million plants and grafting in four million wild olive would be achieved during next five years.
He said eight certification laboratories would also be established while a Pak Olive Company would be raised to ensure stability in olive business besides increasing its production and profits in the country.
He said olive cultivation was a profitable business as about Rs3,60,000 income could easily be produced per acre.
He said new orchard gardens on about 13,264 acres were raised and wild olive grafting in over 470,000 plants were made successfully.
Likewise, 168,797 kilogram fruits were produced with 19,816 litre (11.73percent) oil production in 2020.
Ahmad Syed said suitable climate conditions, quality soil and ecological diversity have made Pakistan most attractive country for commercial cultivation of olives.