Developing Pothwar into an olive Valley

Pothwar tract in Punjab has substantial marginal land which has been identified suitable for olives due to favorable climatic and topographic conditions. The to-date research in Pothwar has shown that these marginal lands can be put to sustainable use to increase edible oil production and produce premium quality olive oil for export. In pursuance, a mega project has been launched by Agriculture Department Government of the Punjab. The long-term objective of the project is to increase local production of premium quality edible oil through supporting olive farming and to create opportunities to improve balance of payments through export of olive oil. The proposed olive plantations on 15,100 acres (2015-20) would generate revenue of Rs. 858 million in 9th year after plantation and cumulative revenue of Rs. 39,171 million in 25 years assuming 18% oil @ Rs. 450/litre.   The ultimate goal is to create olive economy based on sustainable production and processing leading to employment generation for rural communities.

The specific objectives of the project are as under:

    1. Olive cultivation on 15,100 acres of land with provision of 2,038,500 certified nursery plants
    1. Need-based promotional incentives like water source development and drip irrigation system to farmers through private sector
    1. Capacity building of private sector for acclimatization of nursery plants, and provision of technical assistance to olive growers for layout, plantation, orchard and irrigation management.

The breakup of 15,100 acres during project period is given below in Table 1:

Table 1: Area and number of olive nursery plants to be planted during Phase-I

Item 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 Total
Area (Acres) 2,100 2,500 3,000 3,500 4,000 15,100
No. of plants 283,500 337,500 405,000 472,500 540,000 2,038,500

 Incentives to the Farmers: 

Intervention Incentive
Water Source Development

(Area required for olive plantation= 10 acres or above)

Cost Sharing 70 :30

(major share from Government)

Installation of Drip Irrigation System Cost Sharing 60 :40

(major share from Government)

Provision of Acclimatized Plants

(Preferably 05 acres or above if water source not required)

Free of cost through private sector
Guidance to Farmers in olive Plantation & orchard Management Free of cost through private sector
Pit Digging/Filling Cost Responsibility of beneficiary farmers
Shifting of Plants from acclimatization site of nursery provider firm, and Planting at his own site
Orchard Management

Implementation Strategy:

    1. Launching awareness campaign for farmers regarding the economic benefits of olive plantations and create an appetite for large scale olive plantations
    1. Development of water source on farmer fields by farmers through private sector
    1. Setting up of drip irrigation system through Punjab Irrigated-Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project (PIPIP) of water management wing.
    1. Provision of true to type, disease free olive nursery plants of recommended varieties through private sector and field plantation by farmers
    1. Training and capacity building of nursery plant provider firm for acclimatization of olive plants
    1. Capacity development of service provider firm for guidance to the olive farmers
    1. Provision of post-hole diggers to the farmers on loan basis to facilitate mechanized pit digging through service providers

 Expected output of the project:

Olive is a plant of centuries. With good management, it continues bearing fruits up to 100 years on an average. Very old plantations (2000 years ago) still exist in the world. Initial olive plantations on 15,100 acres would produce around 87 million litres of virgin olive oil & generate cumulative revenue of Rs. 39,171 million in 25 years (Fig. 2) assuming 18% oil @Rs. Rs. 450/litre.

 Projected additional benefits:

    1. Capacity development of the private sector for acclimatization of olive nursery plants, which is presently limited to import and supply of plants.
    1. Capacity building of private sector for provision of technical assistance to the olive growers. None of the field organization has such skill to provide practical guidance to the olive growers in good orchard management practices in addition to practical guidance for layout and planting. Availability of such technical services at the door step of olive farmers is expected to ensure olive plantations and orchard management on scientific lines with better growth and development of olive plants.
    1. Creation of employment opportunities to thousands of people and poor farmers of rainfed region.
    1. Linking more farmers to agri-business.
    1. Provide strong base to the province for the development of olive oil extraction industry.
    1. Efficient use of critical natural resources such as land & water.
    1. Provision of permanent productive fruit cover to reduce erosion induced damages and improve eco-system services.