Islamabad: Ambassador of Italy to Pakistan Andreas Ferrarese on Tuesday said that Italy was investing in a project worth €1.5 million for olive cultivation and growth in Pakistan.
The Ambassador said that Italy had always played a vital role in helping Pakistan to develop olive cultivation and technical expertise.
The “Olive Culture” project worth €1.5 million shall be executed in 26 months in suitable areas by CIHEAM Bari in cooperation with the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFS&R) through the Pakistan Oilseed Department. It represents a continuum with all the work done by Italy in the past, with a holistic approach encompassing all stages and stakeholders.
The Ambassador hosted an event to highlight Italy’s contribution to the promotion of Olive and Olive Oil and its Value Chain in Pakistan, through the technical support of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation – AICS in Pakistan.
He said that Pakistan had a lot of potential for olives and the country could earn foreign exchange by increasing olive production and using it for commercial purposes.
He further said that fair trade was going on between the two countries at present. Pakistan’s overall exports to Italy were worth $ 763 million, its overall imports from the country were worth $754 million.
Andreas Ferrarese said that Italian olives were the best in the world in terms of quality.
Pakistan could import olives from Italy which were very good for human health, he said.
He said that the Pakistani business community in Italy could play a very important role in that regard.
Olives, he said, were an integral part of the entire Mediterranean civilization without which life and culture would be incomplete.
He said that olives were a special gift of our Mediterranean culture, which were a part of the culture of the region.
Andreas Ferrarese said that olive is an important part of our food, weddings and festivals. Similarly, olives were of special importance in the Middle East and other regions and civilizations.
He said that the importance of olives is also mentioned in the holy religious books Quran, Gospel and Bible.
The Ambassador said that Italy had always supported Pakistan’s journey in the field and “We are happy to continue with an aim to develop a sustainable, modern and rich olive culture in Pakistan.”
He said that it would not only provide quality edible oil for the Pakistani people but also help reduce the import bill of the country.
Rather, he said, “We look forward to the times when Pakistan would be among leading olive-producing and exporting countries in the world”.