Jan 24 - 30, 2011

Olive cultivation in Pakistan is still in its infancy stage and it is restricted to mainly hilly areas. It is cultivated on an area of about thousand of acres.

The olive tree describes to have been found normally in cold temperature countries.

Olive belongs to Oleaceae family and comprises 30 genera with 600 species. The plant is a symbol of prosperity and peace. It is a tropical evergreen fruit crop, which requires chilling for its fruit fullness like other deciduous fruit tree plant. The tree is relatively slow growing but long lived. The tree is hardy and resistant to different diseases condition. The olive tree is grown in many parts of the world. The important countries include Tunisia, Argentina, Australia, Egypt, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Spain, South Africa, New Zeeland, Morocco, Gaza etc.

During the middle of the century, a number of grafted olive plant of several varieties were imported and planted in Kashmir, Kangra Hills at Harnai, Fort Sandeman in Balochistan, Peshawar, Swat (KPk), Rawalpindi, Jhelum (Punjab).

The government is planning to enhance cultivation of olive plants in the country and farmers have been offered incentives to promote olive production. By promoting the cultivation of this crop, the country can not only save valuable amount of foreign exchange but also can bring changes in living standards of the farmers.

The olive tree is a small evergreen 25 to 40 feet in height with leathery entire leaves. Olive tree prefers a temperate and dry climate with well defined winter, but without sharp and prolonged temperature fluctuations, unfortunately olive plantations have made on waste lands of poor fertility situated on hill slope. A deep fertile soil and a temperature averaging 50oF but never going below 14oF are desirable.

A pruning to every third to fourth year is necessary. The present status of olive crop in the country has thus remained more or less confined to few pocket in spite of a number of potential areas, which offer more suitable climate for olive production.

With few breeding efforts and management, olive plantations could be extended to other areas also which are climatically suitable and have shown good production of this valuable crop. The olive oil is golden yellow and limpid, odorless and edible. Fully ripe olive gives the largest yield. The fruit is black when ripped. Olive oil is the most important food oil as it is kept for long time and become rancid only when exposed to the air. Olive oil is used for making pickles etc.

Different olive cultivars have also been classified for their intended use on the basis of fruit size, pulp stone ratio and oil content. Laboratory experiments have shown that olive leaves have an anti-bacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory effect. They are a strong antioxidant as well.

Ripe olive fruit contains sugars, minerals and vitamins B, C, and A besides about 70 per cent of water. Fruit also contain two per cent protein, 14 per cent oil, four per cent carbohydrates, six per cent ash, one per cent fiber and 650 calories per pound of fresh weight.

Olive fruits are mainly utilized for extraction of oil having a pivotal position in international trade. Olive oil is a rich source of poly unsaturated fatty acid (PUFA ) and is absolutely free from cholesterol. It possesses numerous biological properties and therefore occupies a pivotal position in human nutrition. The consumption of olive oil has been clinically advocated to people suffering from hypertension, high blood pressure, coronary heart diseases, and other ailments. Its consumption removes constipation and contributes in blood purification, so plays a prominent role in curing the malaria. Vegetable can be fried in oil without any risk of fat accumulation in the arteries. It is also used as a source of salad. Olive oil is good for human skin and massaging for young growing children, also useful in muscular pains and providing warmth during cold weather.

Olive oil contains flavonoids to protect cells and inhibits histamine in allergic reactions. The olive oil has great demand in cosmetic industry like making perfumes, soap, antiseptic cream, moisturizing cream etc. It is also used as textile, lubricant, sulphonated oils and as laxative. It is also used as lubricant.

It is also used as construction material for making doors and roofs. Its use in firewood is also common among the rural population.

Olive is not only a good source of economy for rural people but also it has contributed generously to world peace for which it established itself in the peace map of UN. During ancient years, the olive crowns were distributed to awards in places of medals in Olympic.