The federal government is going to launch a ‘50 Million Olive Tree Tsunami’ project across the country to help poor farmers.
Prime Minister’s Advisor on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam announced this on Sunday after visiting the olive farms in Chakwal district.
Under the initiative, millions of olive trees will be planted in the regions hit by water shortage, droughts, and plunging groundwater levels, he said.
Part of ’10 Billion Tree Tsunami’
The project is a part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ‘10 Billion Tree Tsunami’ and will be executed with the help of provincial governments on an urgent basis.
Advisor to PM on Climate Change said that they had issued directives to the ministry’s forest officers to come up with a viable national plan.
The initiative will target particularly smallholder farmers of certain areas in Punjab, Balochistan, Sindh, and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa that face water shortage for cultivation.
He mentioned that the government will help build storage ponds in the drought-hit areas for olive tree plantation. Besides, rainwater harvesting and different advanced irrigation technologies will also be used.
Why Olive Trees?
Amin Aslam highlighted that the olive tree is a drought-tolerant staple plant that can withstand various adverse effects of climate change.
He said that the addition of olive tree plantation in the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami project will turn such water-stressed areas into a food basket.
The move will not only help fight climate change effects but will also generate revenue for the local farmers and the government.
The acting Inspector-General Forest, Suleman Warraich, noted that Pakistan is among the worst-hit countries from climate change. Salim, who also leads the Prime Minister’s 10 Billion Tree program, said:
Olive farming, however, can be easily carried out in the country’s areas that witness frequent droughts, frosts, heatwaves, and warming-caused fire events. Because, the olive trees grow well even with low water irrigation and are naturally capable of regenerating after being hit by frost, heat waves, fire incidents due to its marvelous regeneration capacity thanks to their dormant buds.
Benefits of the Project
Warraich elaborated that if the project is executed successfully, it will not only provide an income stream for the smallholder farmers of such areas but will also cut on the country’s edible oil import bill.
The other benefits that he mentioned are:
- Soil conservation
- Increased tree cover in drought-hit areas
- Reduced import bill
- Increase in revenue
- Resistance to climate change effects