Ahsan Iqbal desires to make Olive Plantation Project flagship project of Italy-Pakistan relations

Islamabad, May 18, 2016 (PPI-OT):Government of Italy will provide 20 million Euro technical assistance for Olive Plantation Project in Pakistan, Government launched last year to make olive part of agriculture base of country. The project worth Rs2 billion targets to cultivate olive plants on more than 50,000 acres under the Vision 2025. The Italian Ambassador Mr. Stefano Pontecrvo leading a delegation of Italian Olive sector experts informed Federal Minister Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal during a meeting.

Ahsan Iqbal and Italian delegation discussed the assistance of Italy in olive plantation project in details. Italy’s assistance will be critical in making this project a success, Minister maintained and said that Government is focusing on developing full value-chain for olive products. Pakistan has huge potential for olive cultivation particularly in Potohar in belt, FATA and Balochistan.

Ahsan Iqbal said that Olive Plantation Project is a flagship project of Vision-2025 to promote value-added and desired to see it as a monument of friendship between Italy and Pakistan. He said that Italy should assist Pakistan in cultivation and plantation but also in creating ecosystem of olive cultivation to make it sustainable. “The trouble affected area of FATA would benefit enormously from this project by creating new livelihood for the people of the area”, he stated.

He also urged for developing an effective monitoring system with clear outcomes and deliverables to ensure sold results. “There should be performance indicators on olive cultivation, tree plantation, per tree yield etc. to make the project a successful,” he stated. Ahsan Iqbal said that Pakistan looks forward to Italy for the success of this project because of its experience and expertise in olive area and said that the technical assistance of Italy would help Pakistan greatly in capacity building and skills of Pakistanis in olive cultivation and plantation.

Italian Ambassador informed Federal Minister about Italian experts who will stay in Pakistan for one and half month to meet with the relevant authorities and experts for formulation of policy recommendations for implementation of its technical assistance programme. He assured the continued assistance of Italy in olive plantation project and opportunities to train Pakistani farmers and experts in olive growing and extraction.

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