Pakistan has potential to become big olive oil exporting country: IOC

APP News Agency

22nd Oct, 2021. 11:50 am
International Olive Council

International Olive Council

ISLAMABAD: The International Olive Council (IOC) has said that Pakistan possessed huge potential of producing olive oil that would not only help fulfill the domestic consumption but would also make it a big olive oil exporting country.

“[The] Pakistan government is taking it seriously now and that is why we are here to provide support to the government in getting certification of olive oil, installing laboratories and to plant the varieties suitable to the Pakistani environment,” IOC director Abdel Latif Khadira said, while briefing media here.

Khadira who is currently on a visit to Pakistan on the request of Pakistan Oil Seeds Development Board (POSDB) said that the IOC has invited Pakistan in the next meeting as an observer member to mull over offering Pakistan full membership.

Keeping in view Pakistan’s huge potential and commitment of the Pakistan government in promoting the olive sector, the IOC director said: “We are also looking forward to including Pakistan as a regular member state of the Council.”

The IOC is the world’s only international intergovernmental organisation in the field of olive oil and table olives. It was set up in Madrid, Spain in 1959 under the auspices of the United Nations.

Khadira said that currently the IOC has 17 member countries, which include the leading international producers and exporters of olive oil and table olives.

The IOC producer members account for 98 per cent of the world olive production, located primarily in the Mediterranean region.

Meanwhile talking to APP, POSDB chairman Dr Khair Muhammad Kakar expressed the hope that in the upcoming meeting, Pakistan would fulfill the required criteria to at least become a provisional member of IOC.

Once Pakistan becomes a member state, it would be able to avail facilities provided by the IOC, including installing oil extraction units in the country, he said.

The quality of Pakistan’s oil was one of the best in the world and that the percentage of oil extraction was as high as 29 per cent in some areas of Balochistan, while the world average extraction is only 12 per cent to 18 per cent.

Further, he said after getting the membership, Pakistan would get certification of oil that would help win the trust of the world market.

The majority of imported olive oil currently available in the market was not certified, which meant there was no guarantee of being 100 per cent pure oil, he added.

Kakar said that the government was spending Rs4 billion to install five state-of-the-art laboratories to make the sector more efficient.

The IOC encouraged international technical cooperation on research and development projects, training and the transfer of technology, besides enhancing the environmental impact of olive growing and the olive industry, he said.

National Project director Olive Dr Muhammad Tariq said on the basis of new research, the government was planting olive trees over an area of 75,000 acres during the next three years.