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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..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.
In 2014 PTI was not in govt.onlyin KPK.
The main area if cultivation of olive tree is upper Punjab Attock and its surrounding.
A few olive seedlings planted by PMLN CM in 2016 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
In Pakistan, olive trees started as seedlings, not seeds. It takes 3-12 years depending on cultivar; most around years 5-6. PTI’s Tree planting campaign in KP began in 2014.
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.
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.
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.”
continuity of good policy is imp which most of govt in past failed to do.
For example 1122 could have been turned into national service but it was not.
Replying to an Unknown comment about the PTI government in the province of Khyber Pukhtoon Khawa (KPK).
PTI formed its coalition government in 2013 so it was governing KPK in 2014.
PTI obtained a two third majority in 2018 elections as a result of its performance in the preceding five years.
By News desk -December 16, 2021
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.
I have read your article you referred that Pakistan has joined international olive council.
I counter check international olive council website, PAKISTAN name is NOT there.
Can you please provide the correct source that endorses your claim.
PAKISTAN TO JOIN THE IOC
MADRID / 09.02.2022
It is becoming increasingly likely that Pakistan will become the 19th member of the IOC. A delegation of senior officials and directors from the Pakistani Government visited IOC headquarters in Madrid today. They were welcomed by the Executive Director Abdellatif Ghedira, who was accompanied by his two Deputy Executive Directors, Jaime Lillo and Mustafa Sepetçi, and the heads of the different Operational Units: Standardisation and Research; Economics, Statistics and Promotion; Technical, Training and Environment; External Relations; Observatory and Information Systems; and the Director’s Secretariat.
Today’s meeting was an opportunity to revisit the stages of this collaboration which began last year, with a first visit in March 2021 followed by a webinar between the two parties on 27 May. The rapprochement continued in November with a visit to the country, at the invitation of the Pakistani authorities and private sector. The Executive Director and the Head of the External Relations Department, Mounir Fourati, were welcomed by H.E. the Federal Minister of Agriculture at his residence.
Today’s meeting provided an opportunity to brief stakeholders in the Pakistani administration on how to join the IOC and the benefits and advantages of IOC membership in terms of access to expertise and technical assistance, standardisation, subsidies and promotional programmes to support its olive sector.
Everything seems to be leaning towards a new and important accession to the International Agreement on Olive Oil and Table Olives 2015, which could be formalised this year in accordance with the procedures of the Agreement, whose depositary is the United Nations office.
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.
New climate change minister Sherry Rehman has given her assurance that Pakistan will remain serious about conservation.
Wajahat Shah, 32, is a labourer at a government-run tree plantation, spread over 3,000 hectares of army land in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. “Ten days after the government announced the lockdown due to coronavirus, I had to close my grocery shop,” Shah told The Third Pole.
The plantation is part of the Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Programme, the flagship initiative of the recently ousted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government. The project has been a lifesaver for up to 85,000 residents like Shah, Mohammad Usman Khan, a forest officer, said.
Before Covid-19, Shah earned as much as 25,000 Pakistani rupees (USD 129) a month from his shop. Now, his work at the plantation gives him PKR 15,000 (USD 77), and he also receives a small monthly rent from his shop, which is being run by someone else.
“I know this is much less, but our family of three has fewer needs [now]; I also prefer working outdoors,” he said, adding that this way he gets time to study for his bachelor’s degree.
However, forest officer Khan admitted that turning 3,000 hectares of barren army land into an oasis, growing olive, ziziphus lotus, rosewood, acacia trees and more, is too big a task for the 50 labourers the plantation employs. The government’s hands, he explained, were tied due to lack of funds.
The area – 32 kilometres from Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa – has plenty of water, with groundwater drawn from solar-powered tubewells, but not enough manpower. “We should have at least eight labourers for every 40 hectares,” said Khan, adding that it may not be possible to green the area without more staff.
A ‘booster dose’ for conservation
Pakistan’s Green Stimulus, a USD 120 million loan from the World Bank, was conceived as a “booster dose” for this and similar nature-based projects, said former minister for climate change, Malik Amin Aslam, using a Covid-19 analogy.
The money, originally earmarked for a project by the Pakistan Meteorological Department, was redirected to nature restoration in response to hardship created by Covid-19, Aslam said.
Speaking to The Third Pole on 29 April following Imran Khan’s removal as prime minister, he said he feared the package may face delays.
These “nature-positive funds” Aslam said, referring to the Green Stimulus package, were “literally within arm’s reach”, with the first tranche to be released by 15 April. “The first phase was ready for rollout – when we ourselves got prematurely rolled out!” he rued.
Pakistan’s Green Stimulus fits within the scope of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021–2030, a framework focused on reversing ecosystem loss to fight the climate crisis. It “was meant to protect nature and give green jobs to thousands of people including youth and women”, Aslam explained.
Now with Pakistan in political turmoil, Aslam feared that “all efforts to protect nature and give green jobs may well go down the drain”.
New minister wants to continue Pakistan’s green stimulus
Aslam’s concerns may be unfounded. Sherry Rehman, the new climate change minister, told The Third Pole that the grant will remain available to Pakistan. The World Bank, she explained, is supporting the country, not a particular administration under a certain party, so the agreement still stands.
The Third Pole contacted the World Bank about the status of the loan; a reply had not been received at the time of publication.
New climate change minister Sherry Rehman has given her assurance that Pakistan will remain serious about conservation.
According to the agreement, a body called the National Disaster & Risk Management Fund will receive the funds and distribute them to various departments. Eleven projects have already been vetted and approved by the bank.
“The MoCC [Ministry of Climate Change] would like to continue with [the Green Stimulus] initiative and adopt any course correction in future if necessary,” Rehman said.
Upon taking office, however, she was expecting the ministry to be more than “a single project implementation department” dedicated solely to planting trees.
“[The MoCC] is essentially a policy ministry, not a project implementation department,” she pointed out, detailing her vision of the climate change ministry, which includes policy design, monitoring provinces and engaging internationally with the global community to press Pakistan’s case as a low net polluter.
But above all, Rehman said, “[the ministry] needs Pakistan to engage in a public conversation on conservation and climate goals through state and community action”.
She noted the absence of a climate communication cell at the ministry, as well as the fact that the federal secretary’s post remains vacant. And when it comes to gender, she added, “institutional frameworks in Pakistan are inadvertently designed to preserve inequity”.
The Climate Council, a forum where representatives for the provinces meet to discuss and cooperate on frameworks for climate action, has been dormant with not a single meeting held in the past four years, she added. “All this needs to change,” she said.
Acknowledging that Rehman would have a “good idea” of the country’s needs and priorities on the climate front, Aslam cautioned that “implementation and focus” require political ownership and the understanding and backing needed at the highest level “may be missing in this administration”.
Domestic reform is the new priority
Aslam said adopting the “two-pronged approach of using clean energy transition and nature-based solutions” is essential. Reversing targets set by the previous government, he warned, will not only have ecological but economic and social consequences that Pakistan can ill afford.
He said he hoped the present government “can comprehend this and take the logical way forward towards climate compatible development”.
However, Rehman commented that she worried that Pakistan has been put in a “commitment trap” where, at the international level, “it has promised far more than it can even measure, let alone deliver”.
“While commitments to lower emissions were made abroad, no infrastructure or institutional reform was attempted at home for a genuine energy transition,” she pointed out.
And despite the “existential” nature of the crisis, no awareness was built either at a policymaking or a community level. “No work or public messaging on water deficits were made,” said Rehman, even though Pakistan will be water-scarce by 2025, according to the UN. “It seems that climate solutions have been reduced to tree plantation only.”
ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) - Ten ships of edible oil will arrive in Pakistan in the next two weeks from Indonesia and Malaysia.
After successful negotiations of Pakistani delegation that visited Indonesia, it was agreed between the two countries that Indonesia will provide 2.5 million metric tons of edible oil to Pakistan on urgent basis.
According to a statement released today by Prime Minister’s Office, the delegation visited Indonesia on the directions of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Earlier, the Prime Minister talked to the Indonesian President Joko Widodo in this regard.
The first ship carrying 30,000 metric tons of edible oil from Indonesia will leave for Pakistan on Tuesday.
The agricultural sector in Punjab is central to the Pakistan’s economy and food security as it accounts for 73 percent of the country’s total food production. The Punjab Resilient and Inclusive Agriculture Transformation Project (PRIAT) will increase agricultural productivity through efficient and equitable access to water for small farms. It will support farmers at the community and household levels to adopt climate-smart farming practices and technologies that improve crop yields and conserve water resources in Punjab.
“In recent years Pakistan’s agriculture sector has suffered from losses in crop yields and livestock, damage to irrigation infrastructure, and food shortages due to climate change, particularly severe droughts in the Punjab province,” said Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. “This project aligns with the Punjab Agriculture Policy 2018, which promotes massive expansion of water conservation efforts, enhancing sustainability and resilience in the wake of climate change, and private sector participation to help boost the productivity of the sector.”
PRIAT will support farmers implement innovative, climate-smart technologies to help the Punjab government achieve economies of scale to transform the agricultural sector. The project will engage the private sector in sourcing appropriate technologies and providing training tailored for water user associations and individual households to improve water conservation practices and agriculture productivity.
“The agriculture sector has a huge opportunity to both build climate resilience and improve economic conditions by generating access to domestic and international markets,” said Guo Li, Task Team Leader for the project. “PRIAT will help accelerate the government’s efforts to transform the agri-food system through market-oriented production activities that add value, increase competitiveness and generate higher incomes for farmers.”
The project will benefit about 190,000 small, family-owned farms and 1.4 million acres of irrigated land in rural communities in the province. It will also provide training to small- and medium-sized farm owners on water conservation and more sustainable, climate-resilient agricultural practices, including for women. About 74 percent of women in the province rely on agriculture as a source of livelihood.
The World Bank in Pakistan
Pakistan has been a member of the World Bank since 1950. Since then, the World Bank has provided $40 billion in assistance. The World Bank’s program in Pakistan is governed by the Country Partnership Strategy for FY2015-2020 with four priority areas of engagement: energy, private sector development, inclusion, and service delivery. The current portfolio has 60 projects and a total commitment of $14.2 billion.
Some climate change experts question the impact of afforestation projects - the planting of trees where there were none before - in urban settings.
The choice of species is important, because it affects the amount saplings may need to be watered - a major factor in Pakistan where water is generally scarce.
And whether to plant trees at all is not a simple question: the benefits are not always clear and significant investment is needed to nurture saplings into fully grown trees.
"What is missing from urban forestry is a holistic approach to the environment," said Usman Ashraf, a doctoral researcher in development studies at the University of Helsinki. He was not commenting specifically on the Karachi project.
"It's about visual success, the numbers, small patches here and there," he said. "It won't even make a dent on any of the environmental harm in these cities."
Masood Lohar, who founded the Clifton Urban Forest that has planted trees on the beach front not far from Qureshi's project, said afforestation could help make Karachi more resilient against natural disasters and encourage wildlife to settle.
Experts say it can also provide relief from heatwaves, with the sea breeze getting hotter as it passes through concrete structures while roadways and rooftops absorb heat. Where to plant is a key question, with wealthier urban areas often better off in terms of tree cover.
In the absence of more trees, "we are turning the city into hell", Lohar said.
In the Sakhi Hassan Graveyard in the centre of the city, small saplings grow among uneven tombstones crammed close together, while larger trees offer shade from the midday sun.
Mohammad Jahangir, 35, is a caretaker there who waters the plants for a small cash donation from relatives who seeded them. Viewed from above, the graveyard is a sea of green that stands out against a low-rise neighbourhood.
"We don't feel the heat here in the graveyard, while the city sizzles," said Jahangir. "These trees are a blessing."
(Photo Editing Gabrielle Fonseca Johnson and Kezia Levitas; Additional Reporting Gloria Dickie in London; Writing Mike Collett-White; Text Editing Alison Williams; Layout Eve Watling)
A total of 8.8 million saplings would be planted in four districts of the division during current tree plantation campaign.
This was stated by Divisional Commissioner Dr Irshad Ahmad while inaugurating tree plantation campaign by planting a sapling in the lawn of his office here on Sunday. Additional Commissioner Coordination Fareed Ahmad, Conservator of Forests Niaz Muhammad, Divisional Officer of Forests Nisar Khan and ACR Ghazala Kanwal and others were also present.
The Commissioner said that the forest department would plant 5.4 saplings, while private organizations would plant 2 million saplings, Pakistan Army would plant 1.2 million and other departments would also plant 0.
2 million saplings in the division.
Divisional Officer, Forest ,Nisar Khan briefed the Commissioner that on the Independence Day (August 14) 30,000 saplings would be planted in four districts in which 10,000 saplings would be planted in Sargodha and 5,000 in other three districts each, while the forest department would also distribute 1500 saplings to citizens free of cost, he added.
The Commissioner Dr Irshad Ahmad highlighted that trees were imperative to counter environmental pollution, in addition to combating climate changes. "Therefore, the nation should take part actively in the tree plantation campaign to plant maximum trees in greater national interest", he added.
Pullarao Daravathu and thousands of fellow farmers from Telangana in India's south are busy planting oil palms as their home state aims to add more area under the controversial crop within four years than the entire country has in decades.
Telangana is targeting 2 million additional acres under oil palm cultivation in the next four years, and is going to great lengths to achieve this goal - from building large dams and irrigation canals to importing millions of germinated sprouts.
Generous government subsidies and bumper profit potential compared to other crops are also encouraging farmers like Daravathu to shift to oil palms.
"Oil palm is giving more than 200,000 Indian rupees ($2,536) per acre return to farmers who planted the crop some years back. In rice, I am struggling to earn 40,000 rupees even after putting in lots of effort," said Daravathu, who was planting oil palm on his 5-acre farm at Sathupally, nearly 300 km (186 miles) east of Hyderabad, the state capital.
The recent rally in palm oil prices has more than doubled prices of fresh fruit bunches, which farmers sell to oil mills.
For years, price volatility, water scarcity and a gestation period of nearly four years limited oil palm plantation in India to less than 1 million acres, mostly in coastal Andhra Pradesh, the state that Telangana was carved out of in 2014.
But Telangana, which occupies an inland region on the Deccan Plateau, is now keen to emerge as India's main palm oil hub, with an area target that would place the state as the fifth largest oil palm grower globally – from a negligible base currently.
The drive could reduce India's mammoth vegetable oil imports, which cost the country a record $18.9 billion a year ago and widened the national trade deficit.
India fulfils two-thirds of its vegetable oil demand through imports of around 14 million tonnes annually, including around 8.5 million tonnes of palm oil.
The federal government is keen to increase palm oil output to slash those expensive imports, which lifted inflation this year to multi-year highs after top supplier Indonesia abruptly halted exports.
"In the next four years, most of the palm planting would be done, and after 7-8 years Telangana could be producing 4 million tonnes of palm oil," L Venkatram Reddy, director of Horticulture at the state government told Reuters
Companies operating in Telangana imported 12.5 million sprouts last year and made seedlings for around 200,000 acres this year, said an official with the state-run TS Oilfed, the country's biggest importer of germinated sprouts
The state is aiming to import 15 million sprouts this year - mainly sourced from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Costa Rica - and 50 million next year to achieve the target, he said.
But only handful of companies are supplying germinated sprouts.
"There is sudden surge in demand following a rally in palm oil prices. Companies are not able to supply as much we need this year," said Sougata Niyogi, a top official at Godrej Agrovet. "The supply situation would become more comfortable next year."
For the last five years, Pakistan's agro sector is under trade deficit with USD 2.2 billion being the highest low in 2020. The widened trade gap in 2020 was due to the imports of wheat and pulses and the sudden increase in palm oil prices globally. Palm oil is Pakistan's largest food import item with a 30 percent share in agro imports and the country’s second-biggest import after petroleum. The bulk imports are a consequence of Pakistan’s increasing per capita consumption of edible oil, and the inability to produce adequate quantities of edible oil domestically. The total local consumption of edible oil is 5 MMT, 30 percent of which is domestically-produced and 70 percent of edible oil demand is met through the import of refined palm oil. This demand-supply gap indicates a deeply rooted dependence of Pakistan on imported oilseeds and refined palm oil, which is susceptible to deepen due to yearly decline in local oilseed production. Although the government has launched oilseed production enhancement programs for rapeseeds, sunflowers, and olive oil, the harvest cycle will approximately take the next 7 years to complete. Amid rising demands of edible oil and stunted local production, palm oil is a natural and economic choice for Pakistan due to its affordability, accessibility, and availability. Pakistan imports 75 percent of palm oil products from Indonesia under the Preferential Trade Agreement, whereas it imports 25 percent of palm oil products from Malaysia under the Free Trade Agreement. Despite these agreements, Pakistan faces high export duties on crude palm oil and increasing prices of refined palm oil. Because of these concerns the import value of palm oil is increasing at 2 percent faster rate than the quantity imported annually. If this scenario prevails, Pakistan will import 4 million tons of palm oil by 2025 costing over USD3.5 billion. To control the predicted hike, it is mandatory to control the price and consumption of palm oil for Pakistan. Pakistan is capable of consuming 1.5 million tons of crude oil but only a thousand tons were imported in 2020. The crude will not only produce refined palm oil but will also produce palm fatty acid distillate (PFAD) and palm stearin which are major imports of Pakistan. The study examines the possibility of importing crude oil instead of refined palm oil and finds out how imports of crude palm oil can reduce burden from the economy of Pakistan and make it an opportunity to move towards self-sufficiency
TREES FOR BEES
Malik Amin Aslam, climate change advisor to Prime Minister Imran Khan, said that nurturing the relationship between trees and bees is a priority for the 10 Billion Trees project.
He told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that in several honey-producing areas the project is planting bee-friendly trees such as the indigenous bari tree - also known as ziziphus mauritiana or jujube.
The tree's honey is sought after for its low glucose content, which makes it less likely to crystallise, he said.
But Syed Mahmood Nasir, head of the Islamabad-based Nature Clicks Institution, a non-profit focused on the environment and anthropology, warned that growing Pakistan's honey industry is not as simple as planting more trees.
Authorities need to be clear on whether they want a replanted forest to produce wild or farmed honey, with each requiring different management and resources, explained Nasir, who was formerly the government's inspector-general of forests.
Either way, "they should ensure that no pesticides are used within at least 10 miles of the forest", he added.
For Changa Manga beekeeper Hussain, Pakistan's bee-boosting reforestation efforts make him optimistic he can carry on the business his father has been running for the last 45 years.
Hussain fondly recalled a childhood spent watching his dad extract honey straight from the beehives to give to customers.
"My biggest motivation for this work is that my father has had a special affection for honey since he was a boy and he doesn't want this fondness to end," he said.
"We will do it generation by generation. As long as the forest is there, honey is there."
When authorities started planting millions of trees in eastern Pakistan's Changa Manga Forest five years ago, the idea was to bring back life to forest land that had been destroyed by illegal logging, water scarcity and fires.
Now that the trees have matured, they are having an even sweeter side-effect - helping to boost the local bee population and honey production in the area.
As part of Pakistan's efforts to offset the impacts of climate change by rehabilitating forests, conserving soil and improving water management, 3.5 million trees were planted on 6,000 acres (2,428 hectares) in Changa Manga, known as one of the world's largest man-made forests, near the city of Lahore.
Beekeepers in the plantation said they are now harvesting up to 70% more honey than before the greening project started in 2014, as the trees provide a habitat for bees and create conditions for a growing diversity of plants and flowers.
"As more of the plantation has been created, our honey production has kept on increasing," said Bilal Hussain, a beekeeper in Changa Manga whose father runs the forest's honey operations.
"We will get even more income over the next four to five years," Hussain said excitedly, as he extracted honey from a piece of honeycomb to pack into bottles to sell at his shop.
The amount of honey harvested by beekeepers in the 12,500-acre forest almost doubled from 725 kg (1,600 pounds) in the fiscal year 2018-2019 to about 1,300 kg in 2019-2020, said forest officer Shahid Tabassum.
And the amount of sticky stuff coming out of Changa Manga is estimated to keep rising to about 2,000 kg in the next fiscal year, Tabassum added.
The old forest had three main species of trees, to which at least seven have been added, he noted.
"The forest cover plays an important role in the increase of honey production because honeybees get shelter, shade and water from the trees," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
reporting from the #FloodsInPakistan and explains how
#10BillionTreesTsunami averted a major human disaster - #Trees acted as a #NaturalDefense and sacrificed while saving human lives
To help Pakistan meet its edible oil demand and support its foreign exchange reserves, Chinese company Wuhan Qingfa Hesheng and Pakistani company Evyol group jointly provide high-quality hybrid canola seeds to Pakistani farmers.
GUJRANWALA, Pakistan, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- On a sunny February morning, the air in a small village in Pakistan's east Gujranwala district carried the sweet scent of canola flowers, which were dancing gently in the breeze.
Bees whirling on the profuse yellow blossom beaming with lush green pods were not only a view to behold, but also heralded the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of local businesspeople and farmers, who are shifting to a Chinese hybrid variety of canola seeds to reap higher yields and produce cooking oil at home.
"We sowed the new variety on 100 acres of land because of their potential to produce higher yields and more oil as compared to other oilseeds including mustard and rapeseed, which we previously used to cultivate," Intisar Ahmad Chattha, the farm's manager told Xinhua while carefully watching the pods.
Pakistan's annual consumption of cooking oil is around 5 million tons, but due to the low economic potential of oilseeds in the local market, they are not preferred by the farmers. The country has to import about 89 percent of oil to meet the demand, spending 3.6 billion U.S. dollars annually.
Ghazanfar Ali, head of marketing in Evyol group told Xinhua it took them 10 years to produce a variety that is compatible with the local climate, produces a good yield and is good for human health.
The crop provides an increased profit for the farmers as its standard 2 kg pack is enough to cultivate 2 acres of land, and the farmer can get 1.5 tons of yield out of it, which is over 10 percent more than the yield from other varieties currently available in Pakistan, he said, when talking about the potential of the crop.
Zhou Xusheng, director of the international business department of Wuhan Qingfa Hesheng Seed company, told Xinhua that his company is working on transferring technology to Pakistan to make it efficient in smart agriculture.
"Through this project, we want to transfer the harvesting technology through which the farmers can use some attachments on the harvesters they already have and reduce the wastage," he said.
His company also wants to introduce processing units across the country, through which even in villages people can install them and produce processed oil for themselves and sell it to others, Zhou added.
He said that the seed is suitable for the environment across Pakistan, and this year they sold 11 tons of seeds across the country, which will be cultivated on 20,000 acres, and their target for next year is 100 tons, which will bring a great change to Pakistan by helping the country become self-sufficient in edible oil production.
The Chinese company will also buy back the canola harvest from some of the farmers and send it to the edible oil factories so that both farmer and the factory owners can realize the potential and health benefits of the oil, Zhou added.
"When Pakistan imports oil, it spends a lot of money and receives only the finished product. But when oil is produced locally, it will generate job opportunities, build an industrial chain and utilize the cakes after oil extraction as power-packed canola meal for cattle," he added.
Talking about the demand for canola meal in Pakistan, Chattha said that they have over 800 cows in the dairy farms in the area and to provide them with good quality food they have to import canola meals, which is a big financial burden due to the devaluation of the local currency.
The year 2022 was not a walk in the park for both the producers and the consumers of palm oil. The year saw historic highs and record lows in the palm oil market causing volatility and at times losses as well.
According to the State Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan imported Palm and Soybean oil in excess of $3.3 billion this year. This is a 33% increase as opposed to the FY21. Despite import restrictions in place. Pakistan has already imported a considerably larger amount of palm and soybean oil between Jul-Nov in FY23, than it did in FY22.
Being such a major import, the prices of palm oil are almost as important as any other global commodity. Let us have a look at how the prices of Palm oil were affected throughout the last year, and how that can act as a lesson for the years to come.
MUMBAI, April 19 (Reuters) - Indian buyers have opted to cancel 75,000 tonnes of palm oil purchases for the first time in many years and switch to rival soft oils, such as sunflower oil and soyoil, five industry officials told Reuters.
Palm oil usually trades at a discount to soft oils, but import restrictions by top producer Indonesia have helped to push palm oil to a premium, making sun oil and soyoil more attractive to buyers.
This has prompted some Indian buyers to reduce purchases of palm oil for May shipments and increase soft oil imports. They can do this via mutual agreements with importers to cancel the sales - a process known locally as a "wash out".
This allows a buyer to sell back a product to the seller based on a pricing formula that includes the prevailing market price.
Lower palm oil imports by India, the world's biggest buyer of vegetable oils, could weigh on Malaysian palm oil prices , but support soyoil and sunflower oil prices.
A few buyers decided to opt for a wash out because of negative margins prevailing in the local market, said Sandeep Bajoria, chief executive of Sunvin Group, a vegetable oil brokerage and consultancy firm.
Crude palm oil (CPO) imports are currently being offered at about $1,050 a tonne, including cost, insurance and freight (CIF), in India for May delivery, while palm oil imported in the past few months is now priced between $1,000 to $1,010, dealers said.
Wash outs are relatively rare in the Indian vegetable oil industry and the quantity is usually small at around 5,000 to 10,000 tonnes, said a Mumbai-based dealer with a global trade house.
"Big wash out is happening because of unusual price movement in palm oil. It has been rising even as other oils are falling in the past few months," said the Mumbai-based dealer.
Price-sensitive Asian buyers traditionally rely on palm oil because of low costs and quick shipping times. But palm oil has moved to a premium at the same time as soft oil prices have dropped, partly due to a record rapeseed crop.
Palm oil's discount to rival oils was much as $500 in the December quarter, but now it is holding a rare premium of more than $30 per tonne over sunoil for May shipments, dealers said.
Indian buyers are replacing palm oil with soyoil and sunflower oil for shipments in May, said Rajesh Patel, managing partner at GGN Research.
India's palm oil imports in May could fall to 700,000 tonnes, compared with an average monthly import of 879,000 tonnes so far in 2022/23 marketing year ending on Oct. 31, dealers said.
India buys palm oil mainly from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. It imports soybean and sunflower oil from Argentina, Brazil, Russia and Ukraine.
ISLAMABAD-Pakistan can reduce its import bill by exploiting its great potential for growing tea on a large scale, WealthPK reported.
Tea is one of the most important high-value cash crops. Despite its low cost, tea is the most popular beverage in Pakistan. The country has great potential for tea plantation on a large scale.
Abdul Waheed, Director of National Tea and High-Value Crops Research Institute Shinkiari, told WealthPK that the current rate of population growth showed that demand for tea would continue to increase over time, putting a strain on limited foreign exchange resources. He said that Pakistan’s total import bill for tea in the fiscal year 2022 was more than $590 million.
According to a recently-conducted survey, there is a huge potential for tea cultivation in Pakistan. It says that 158,000 acres of land in Khyber Pakhtunkwa and 4,000 acres in Azad Jammu and Kashmir are suitable for tea plantation, which can not only meet the local demand but can be also exported to other countries. Abdul Waheed said that more than 15 tonnes of locally produced and processed green tea was exported to Japan during the last three to four years.
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“Tea plants can be raised both from seed and cuttings. In Tea World, tea has initially been raised through seeds because of the economic ease with which its plantation is expanded,” said the director of the research centre. Many countries like China, India, and Sri Lanka, the world-known tea producers for centuries, still raise more than 75% of tea through seeds. Due to high population pressure coupled with the low economic condition, Pakistan presently needs to grow tea. The country also needs to increase the yield of all agricultural commodities.
“Historically speaking, nations of the world have always gained self-sufficiency in quantities first before becoming quality conscious. Thus, tea quantity in the shortest possible time can be economically obtained from tea seeds and not from cuttings,” Abdul Waheed told WealthPK. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, tea is one of the most important cash crops and plays a significant role in rural development, poverty reduction and food security in exporting and developing countries. It is a principal source of livelihood for millions of people.