A revolution incoming, that can change the destiny of the local people of Bajaur, once destroyed by the wave of terrorism. Olive and olive oil Production
Everyone knows, Pakistan has been fighting terrorism for two decades. Bajaur is one of the most suffered tribal areas along the border of Afghanistan. The Pakhtoon dominated region has been ruined by the post 9/11 situation of terrorism. This destroyed their culture and their families suffered a lot. The young tribal people have no businesses and employment at all. They were struggling and fighting the war for their survival.
Afterward, with the hard work of the Pakistan Army and counter terrorism departments, Pakistan has defeated terrorists. It takes almost a time span of more than a decade to establish peace in the tribal areas.
After the peace, the government now started various projects of rehabilitation. These projects include basic infrastructure, community development, employment opportunities, etc. The government considered Bajaur for rehablitation.
Olive Tree Plantation Projects
The olive plantation is one of the projects started in the Bajaur Agency to improve agriculture and to provide employment and businesses to the local people. The government of KPK is keen to invest in the rehabilitation of newly merged tribal areas previously named as FATA.
Under PSDP and agriculture department funding, new projects have started in which olive trees will be planted on more than 150,000 acres of the land of district Bajaur. Previously the area is flooded with wild varieties of olive plants. These plants were then turned to more farmer-friendly and improved varieties by grafting.
The agriculture department has set up an olive oil extraction machine for locals. This machine is now producing extra virgin pure olive oil. The process from olive plucking to packing up olive oil and dispatching them to the stores provides a lot of employment opportunities for locals. Moreover, this reduces the annual import of which was more than 4-5k tonnes.
Similar projects were undergoing in vast areas of the Pothowar region. The olive revolution is silently playing its role in the country’s economy. This will create a clear cut in imports of olives and olive oil and save foreign exchange for Pakistan.
What to do Next?
The lack of implementation of international standards is still an issue. This reduces the overall product value. Keeping in mind that this is a start, one can think it may develop with time. But the government needs to focus on this side too, to produce high-quality oils having greater market value. Previously, Pakistan is lacking in quality for many things producing in the country. Major examples are rice, salt, fruits, etc.
So, the government should apply international standards for olive oil processing and its packing. In this way, in the future, we can earn a handsome amount from its export.
Hope so in the coming years, the people of Pakistan can fully benefit from the olive oil producing areas. Just by putting some effort and attention, we can do wonders in this industry.