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LAHORE: Pakistan should increase olive oil production on a war footing basis to benefit from a high international demand in the wake of heatwave hitting output in Spain, proposed Meteorological experts Monday.

Talking to Business Recorder, they said, the olive oil prices could rise by 25% as heatwave hit production in Spain, which produces nearly half of the world’s olive demand.

It may be noted that the European nations have sent firefighting teams to help France tackle a monster wildfire, while forest blazes also raged in Spain and Portugal. Heatwave, floods, and crumbling glaciers in recent weeks have heightened concerns over climate change and the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather across the globe.

Pakistan has also witnessed wildfire incidents in over 100 locations between March to May this year. Similar incidents are also reported in neighbouring India as well. In Romania, where record temperatures and drought have drained rivers of water, Greenpeace activities have protested to draw attention to global warming and urge the governments to lower emissions. Severe drought is also set to slash the UE’s maize harvest by 15% this year, thus causing higher food prices worldwide.

Shahid Abbas, a meteorological expert, said olive oil as a food ingredient is likely to go out of reach due to crop damage in Spain, which provides a novel opportunity for Punjab to fill the gap. He said Pakistan has a large area of land suitable for growing olive trees and producing olive oil since 2010 with the help of countries like Italy and Spain.

Currently, he said, it was producing about 1500 tons of olive oil and 830 tons of table olives per year, all of which is consumed domestically. Pakistan has set a target of producing 16,000 tons of live oil by 2027.

It may be noted that olive varieties have shown fruit-bearing in Lahore, Kasur, Sahiwal, Faisalabad, Layyah, Bhakkar, and Mianwali showing great potential for its expansion in Punjab. Former Prime Minister Imran Khan has also been a great proponent of olive tree cultivation in the province. Similarly, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has about 880,000 hectares of cultivable wasteland which is suitable for olive.

Shahid said this is high time to enter the world export market and brand Pakistan’s olive oil worldwide. According to him, China is already taking interest in mechanizing the cultivation and picking up olives.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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Fatima Aug 16, 2022 07:11am
Olive trees take 3 years to provide first fruit, how will we benefit from this years shortage ?
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