ISLAMABAD: The International Olive Council (IOC) has decided to admit Pakistan as its full member, saying the country contains huge potential of producing olive oil not only for domestic consumption but also for export.
Pakistan is currently an associate member of the IOC which is an intergovernmental organisation of states that produce olives or products derived from olives such as oil.
IOC’s Executive Director Abdellatif Ghedira is currently on a visit to Pakistan on a request of the Pakistan Oil Seeds Development Board.
Speaking to media here on Thursday after visiting olive farms and reviewing the potential of olive oil production in Pakistan with the government and research scientists, Mr Ghedira said Pakistan was now well placed to join the council as its full member.
Olive development programme is expected to receive grants from the council
The full membership of Pakistan will lead to strengthen international cooperation and bring the Pakistani olive oil sector closer to the council and promote the application of IOC standards in the world markets.
Pakistan’s olive development programme is expected to receive grants from the council which finances national programmes of member countries on an annual basis.
Mr Ghedira ended his visit to Pakistan on a satisfying note that the government has embarked on a massive project to promote the olive oil sector since it has suitable climate to plant varieties of olives.
He said the council would support Pakistan to secure certification as the country had standard processing plants and research laboratories.
Currently, Pakistan has 3.6 million olive plants over an area of 31,000 acres of land, and plans are underway to grow 10m more plants over 75,000 acres of land.
Balochistan has been considered as highly promising province for the cultivation of olive plants.
The IOC brings together olive oil and table olive producing and consuming stakeholders. It is the world’s only international intergovernmental organisation in the field of olive oil and table olives. The council currently has 17 state members in addition to the European Union. These states account for over 98 per cent of the world’s oil production.
Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2021