A two-days National Olive Festival was organized jointly by Barani Agricultural Research Institute, the Punjab Agriculture Department, USAID’s Punjab Enabling Environment Project (#PEEP), and the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council in Chakwal at the premises of Barani Agricultural Research Institute on 26 and 27 October.
It attracted a large number of visitors, including students from local schools and colleges. The visitors enjoyed tasting various varieties of olives from Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan. The festival also featured a food court serving local dishes and a cultural corner where visitors were treated to folk music.
One of the main attractions for the visitors was the PEEP- supported mobile olive oil extraction unit, where they could witness oil being extracted from fresh olives.
The recently completed Center of Excellence for Olive Research and Training was inaugurated during the National Olive Festival held at the Barani Agricultural Research Institute. The new research and innovation facility will increase olive production and employment opportunities.
Promotion of olive sowing will prove an important milestone in meeting the national requirements of edible oil and the government will launch more projects soon to supplement the present efforts. This was stated by the Federal Secretary for Food Security & Research, Dr Muhammad Hashim Khan Popalzai, while speaking at the inaugural ceremony of two-day ‘National Olive Festival.’
Jolie Koenen appreciated the Punjab govt’s project for promotion of olive plantation and assured full cooperation from her institution in future. She hoped that Pakistan would soon achieve self-reliance in edible oil by promoting olive plantation. Barani Agriculture Research Institute’s director Muhammad Azeem Tariq said a number of olive varieties had been approved including Bari Olive-1 and Bari Olive-2 while many other varieties had been selected for trial plantation in Potohar and adjoining areas.