To boost crop diversification, the Punjab government has chalked out a comprehensive plan for introducing olive cultivation across the state in a big way.

A decision to this effect was taken by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during a meeting with the senior officers of the state here, an official spokesman said today.

Badal asked the Agriculture Department to explore the feasibility of olive plantation in the state on the basis of pilot project over an area of 10 hectares with the active involvement of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) Ludhiana at a suitable site with favourable climatic conditions.

He asked the Financial Commissioner Development to draft a policy in this regard to provide subsidy to the farmers interested in Olive cultivation.

Badal said the concept of olive cultivation could be made popular amongst the farmers by motivating them to pursue crop diversification program besides ensuring remunerative return to them as the traditional agriculture was not a profitable venture anymore due to the squeezed margins on the low and static MSP.

Uditech MD S S Randhawa through a power point presentation apprised the Chief Minister that Rajasthan government had successfully launched Olive cultivation with the technical support of their company and soon extending this project over an area of 5,000 hectares in the four districts with active participation of local farmers.

He said farmers could mop up additional income of Rs 2 lakh per hectare annually as compared to an average of Rs 60,000 per hectare from conventional farming.

It was generally believed by the leading olive experts in the world that the climatic conditions of North India were aptly suitable for the cultivation of high yielding varieties of olive.

(This article was published on September 18, 2012)
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