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Welcoming Olives to Potohar (Courtesy Pakissan News Service)
CHAKWAL: During the first annual meeting of the Olive Development Group (ODG), USAID Punjab Enabling Environment Project (PEEP) and Allied Foods signed a grant to establish a mobile olive extraction unit. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Government of Punjab established the ODG in May 2016 as part of their combined effort to transform the Potohar Valley in Punjab Province into Pakistan’s first region dedicated to the cultivation of olives. The ODG is chaired by Agriculture Secretary Muhammad Mahmood and includes representatives from the olive value chain, academia, and industry associations. Secretary Mahmood, USAID/Pakistan Mission Director Jerry Bisson, and a diverse group of sector stakeholders participated in the meeting. Mr. Bisson also joined Secretary Mahmood in inaugurating an oil extraction unit at the Barani Agriculture Research Institute. “I would like to congratulate the Agriculture Department and the Government of Punjab for their innovative efforts and commend USAID/PEEP team and group members for their continued support to the olive sector development in Punjab,” Mission Director Bisson said. I would also like to congratulate everyone here today on the occasion of the first Annual Meeting of the Olive Development Group, a milestone that reflects the commitment and collective contribution for olive sector development.” USAID’s PEEP is a $14.98 million, five-year initiative to enhance private sector-led growth in the horticulture, livestock, and dairy sub-sectors of Punjab through policy reform advocacy as well as human and institutional capacity development. In February 2017, USAID, through its Punjab Enabling Environment Project (PEEP), signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Barani Agriculture Research Institute to establish an Olive Research Center and a grant agreement with the Olive Foundation to enable this transformation. USAID also provided technical assistance to the Punjab Agriculture Department to establish a Policy and Strategy Unit and develop the olive sector development plan. The Government of Punjab is providing more than two million olive plants to Punjab farmers over five years to catalyze 15,000 cultivated acres of olive trees.
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