Punjab to push for olive cultivation with Israeli help

July 23rd, 2008 - 6:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, July 23 (IANS) The Punjab government is all set to launch olive cultivation in the state over 300 hectares under a pilot project. Punjab Agro, the nodal agency for this project, has held negotiations with an Israeli company, Indolive Enterprises, which has signed an agreement with the Rajasthan government to cultivate olive in that state along with an Indian partner.

At a meeting here Tuesday, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal asked Punjab Agro to encourage farmers to take to olive cultivation, as the climatic conditions in the state were suitable for moderate to high yield of olive.

He said this would result in a three-fold increase in the the farmers’ income.

At present, olive oil costs $3.6 (Rs.144) per kg. At that price, income would be approximately over Rs.300,000 per hectare from the sixth year onwards as fruiting starts from the third year.

Average oil yield would be 600 kg in the third year and reach 2,000 kg in the sixth year, Badal said at the meet.

He said olive cultivation would also lead to water conservation, increased income, employment, foreign exchange earning, maintain ecological balance and diversification in agriculture.

Punjab Agro managing director S.K. Sandhu said olive cultivation would be undertaken on public private participation (PPP) basis.

The state government, a foreign company and an Indian partner will hold equal stake in the company that will be floated for this, he said.

Sandhu said the new company, Punjab Olive Co, would set up three commercial pilot plantations.

Investment in this project is expected to be around $2.5 million (Rs.100 million). Of this, 25 percent will be covered by subsidies from the National Horticulture Board and the National Horticulture Mission, 45 percent by the Punjab government, and the Indian private investor accounting for the remaining 30 percent.

The foreign company’s contribution would be in the form of technology supply and business management.

The foreign collaborator would also invest in the extraction of plants and will guarantee to buy the fruits from the farmers at a price linked to rates prevailing in the olive oil market in Spain.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Business |