Oil extraction units to be set up in Chakwal

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The Board of Investment (BOI) in collaboration with the Punjab Agriculture Department is going to set up state-of-the-art olive oil extraction units in Chakwal district of Punjab province, WealthPK reported.

The project will be completed in three years, and the estimated cost for the construction of the unit will be Rs530.205 million. The BOI is seeking applications for the project on the basis of public private partnership (PPP) whereas preferred mode of investment may also be private equity.

A BOI official informed WealthPK that the demand for olive oil is increasing day by day due to increase in commercial purposes (exports of olive and its by-product) as well as eating habits of the people of Pakistan. Local production does not meet the demand which indicates a huge potential for growing olive trees.

The official said that currently in Pakistan about six to eight olive oil extraction units having capacity to process 750 to 1,000kg of olive fruit per hour are operational which cannot meet the local demand for olive oil. An average, 500,000 to 600,000 olive plants per annum are being cultivated by the government.

Dr. Muhammad Ejaz, Plant Pathologist at Barani Agriculture Research Institute (BARI), informed WealthPK that it is estimated that in next 10 years, BARI, with the help of the Government of Punjab, will plant 3.16 million trees in Potohar region covering 23,400 acres land, that will produce 21,000 tons of olive fruit which will be available in the market for further processing.

Talking about the project, he said that the long-term objective of the project is to produce olive oil for export while creating a sustainable olive oil economy which will also benefit the rural communities of the region.

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