By Dr. S.M.Alam &
Nuclear Institute of Agriculture, Tandojam
June 28 - July 04,1999
The oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) is an important plant for
obtaining edible oil for human consumption and manufacture other accessories. The chances
of bringing millions of acres land, along the coastal area from Karachi (Sindh) to Gwadar
(Balochistan) lying barren and unused, are bright and suitable for cultivation of oil palm
seedlings. The area from Karachi to Gwadar, covering a distance of about 700 kilometers,
lies between 62°F and 68°F longitude and 24°N and 26°N latitude. The entire area has
highly variable relief and land forms. Aridity is the main characteristic feature of this
region. Pasni and Gwadar are more hot and dry than Karachi.
The altitude of the area is not more than 190 meter from the sea level.
It is commonly barren desert and handicapped by lack of water and subject to extreme heat.
The area is least influenced by summer monsoons. The annual rainfall may be as low as 25
mm and 75 mm. The rain fall in western lower Sindh (Karachi coast) is comparatively larger
than in Makran coasts.
The mean maximum temperature of the hottest month ranges from 32°C to
40°C, occasionally exceeding as high as 48°C. Humidity is high and there is steady fast
sea breeze in the summer, owing to which, the temperature is slightly moderate near the
coast. It has been reported that climatic conditions in these areas are quite conducive
and suitable for the cultivation of palm oil. If the cultivation of palm oil becomes
successful in these areas then the country will be in a position to produce edible oil
locally and this will reduce the huge import bill of this commodity as well as soybean.
The country spends nearly $ 800 million on the import of palm oil and soybean annually.
Informations have been gathered that about 5,000 acres of land on the coastal areas of
Sindh and nearly some size of land along the coastal areas of Balochistan would be brought
under oil palm seedling in the near future. The Pakistan Oilseed Development Board has
acquired supernumbery seedlings of oil palm (nearly 1.10 million plants) from Malaysia and
Sri Lanka to be planted in the coastal areas of the two provinces. Of course, some
remedial measures have been taken by the government including efforts to go into
plantation of palm gardens within the country.