ISLAMABAD: For the first time, the Capital Development Authority (CDA)is going to plant olives in collaboration with Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC).

In the first phase 5,000 olive saplings will be planted in the capital under the technical supervision of agriculturists and experts of the NARC.

The CDA chairman, Maroof Afzal, on Thursday planted an olive sapling at the greenbelt along the Kashmir Highway to inaugurate the drive.

Around 1,000 saplings will be planted in next 15 days.

Normally, the CDA launches tree plantation drive in spring and monsoon every year, but it is planting the olives in mild weather conditions which are suitable for the growth of this fruit.

“Islamabad has moderate winter climate as there is no snowfall here, therefore planting olive is favourable in this season,” said Sardar Mustafa, spokesman for the PARC.

PARC has several experimental plantation sites in Potohar region including in Chakwal and the experts at the Council have termed that Potohar and mainly Islamabad is suitable for olive plantation.

“The plants grown in Chakwal farms will start giving fruit in this climate within two years,” Mr Mustafa added.

While, the PARC will provide saplings from its nurseries, the CDA will not only plant them at various greenbelts of city but will take care of them properly.

The CDA and the PARC have also entered into an agreement to launch an awareness programme among the citizens of Islamabad to plant more trees and also to take care of those planted at public land.

Under the agreement it is expected that small packages of organic compost will be sold at minimal rates to the citizens interested in improving their gardens or at public land surrounding their houses.

Speaking on the occasion, the CDA chairman said that the plantation of olive will also gradually phase out paper mulberry, and maintain the green character of the city.

Apart from planting seasonal flowers and ornamental trees especially along the roads, the CDA is paying special attention to planting local fruit, flowering and shady species in the forest areas.

Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2014

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