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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Pakistan to become world’s number one olive exporter-Jamshed Cheema

SAPM on food security said, “Go to any food store with imported products, and in two years, we will have every product locally grown, manufactured, and available to you at cheaper rates.”

GNN’s news analyst and anchorperson Imran Khan did a program named “Made in Pakistan” on Thursday as a part of his daily show, “Clash with Imran Khan”.

The program highlighted how up till recently and even today Pakistanis have had this belief that there are certain goals, aims, and tasks that Pakistanis cannot achieve. He started the show by saying that, “this has led to the world selling us these things at a very expensive price”.

Mr. Khan gave the example of Pakistan’s recent initiative to produce ventilators locally to save cost and manage the pandemic and said that we did not make ventilators till some people had the courage to do so.

Prime Minister’s recent appointee as the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Food Security Jamshed Iqbal Cheema appeared as the guest on the show to shed some light on the government’s initiatives and vision for “Made in Pakistan”.

Mr. Jamshed Iqbal is an agronomist and a food security expert hired by Prime Minister Imran Khan in April to manage the food crisis of Pakistan.

Mr. Cheema didn’t only appear himself but brought some products representing the progress of the incumbent government, which included Soy Milk and tea.

SAPM on food security said, “Go to any food store with imported products, and in two years, we will have every product locally grown, manufactured, and available to you at cheaper rates.”

He said that Pakistan imports $600 million worth of tea annually, and the imported tea is no match for the locally grown one, so the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) has researched and launched locally grown and manufactured 7 brands of herbal tea. He even showed what he claimed was olive tea.

He claimed that no tea brand is comparable to it.

Then Mr. Jamshed Iqbal Cheema showed a second product, the Soy Milk. He said that previously Pakistan didn’t grow soybean locally, and $1.1 billion of Rs200 billion worth of soybean was imported into the country.

He claimed that it was previously claimed that soy could not be grown in Pakistan, but the incumbent government undertook the research, and it proved to be successful.

Read More: Ensuring Food Security in Pakistan

Mr. Cheema said that the intellectuals of the country rather than encouraging initiatives argue, “West does this better, so we shouldn’t do this”, leading to the discouragement of people.

SAPM claimed that Soy Milk is a very healthy alternative to the animal milk consumed by people in Pakistan. He said the majority of China consumes Soy Milk as their top choice for all ages and is healthy for old people and young similarly.

Showing a receipt for a one-liter pack of soy milk, Mr. Cheema said that it is priced at Rs2,100 in retail. However, locally, better-quality soy milk has been launched at a price of Rs200, including profits and expenses.

He said that Pakistan’s food imports are worth $8 billion, and it includes items like edible oil, chocolate, coffee, and tea, adding that government would ensure local production.

It must be mentioned that in the recent launch of 2020-21 Economic Survey of Pakistan, Pakistan’s Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said that Pakistan has become a net food importer.

Regarding the production of honey, Mr. Cheema said the target of the government is to produce 10,000 tons of honey in Margalla valley, Islamabad. This area would be called “Hub of honey”, he added.

The SAPM said that in Balochistan there is 10-million-acre land on which olives can be planted. In one acre there are 135 trees, and the worth of an acre is Rs.25 million. The land would require to be watered/irrigated thrice a year, and fertilizer is needed once a year.

It will efficiently bear fruit for 100 years, and starts bearing fruit after four years of plantation, he claimed.

Mr. Cheema said that Pakistan’s land is a natural bearing ground for olives as over 100 million plants occur naturally all over the country, but we have not used this to our advantage.

He said, whosoever comes to power, focuses on wheat only, ignoring other potentials of the land. Mr. Cheema said that Pakistan needs to efficiently save water for this program to succeed and be sustainable.

Read More:Urea exports: Massive opportunity for the economy of Pakistan

Land Allocation in Balochistan

SAPM Cheema said Balochistan has 32 districts and out of those, 25 are fit for olive, 12 are fit for cotton, 12 districts would be made into a hub for growing pulses (daal). Moreover, 14 districts would be allocated to soybean production.

Upon the question that the incumbent government’s tenure is two years only, Jamshed Iqbal Cheema said that the government is going to focus on increasing production, growing of crops in two years, and total import substitution will take more time.

He said that the Pakistani population consumes around 41 percent fewer calories than the global average, ie Pakistanis consume around 2100 calories a day compared to 2900 calories globally.

Mr. Cheema talked about the government’s target that if 7 years from now, the agricultural produce of Pakistan is 70 per cent more than today’s, Pakistan would have catered to the import substitution, population increase, and the calorie deficit problem simultaneously.

He said that the CAGR of agricultural production will increase multifold over the coming years. He added that the government is not only focusing on production but processing as well.

He lastly claimed that the incumbent government has set up 25 olive extraction factories, adding that Pakistan would become the world’s number one exporter of olive in the world in 6-7 years, owing to 10 million acres of olive plantation government is planning.

This shows the potential of Pakistan’s agriculture sector if these plans are implemented efficiently going forward.

Read More: PTI Govt. to spend over Rs12,017 million in PSDP 2021-22 on agriculture