Ambassador Marilina Armellin appreciates progress on Olive Culture Project

Islamabad: The 4th Steering Committee meeting for the “OliveCulture – Holistic and Multiprofessional Mechanism for a Pakistani Olive Oil Value Chain” Project convened this week in Islamabad, marking another significant step towards enhancing Pakistan’s olive sector.

Chaired by Muhammad Asif, Federal Secretary of the Ministry of National Food Security & Research, Government of Pakistan, and co-chaired by Her Excellency Ms. Marilina Armellin, Ambassador of Italy in Pakistan, the meeting served as a platform for strategic discussions and collaborative efforts.

H. E Ms. Marilina Armellin Ambassador of Italy expressed her appreciation towards the work done so far by the OliveCulture Project with the close cooperation of the Ministry and the Provinces. The notable and commendable pace maintained throughout the project was acknowledged and valued.

The partnership between Italian and Pakistani experts is deemed essential for nurturing olive cultivation and enhancing olive oil production. Without this fruitful collaboration, the objectives of the project would be unattainable. Capt. (R) Muhammad Asif, Federal Secretary of the Ministry of National Food Security & Research, expressed that the project’s significant success in Pakistan owes much to Italian collaboration. While Pakistan’s environment is inherently conducive to olive cultivation, prior government engagements at provincial and federal levels were limited in their impact.

The substantial success was truly realized with the technical assistance provided by Italian partners. The success goes to hard work, effort, and relentless pursuit by Italian experts, and project staff. Mr. Francesco Zatta Director Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), Islamabad expressed his views by paying gratitude to all stakeholders. The support and facilitation provided by AICS were assured for the extension period as well as for the scale-up of this project. This will be exactly aligned with the expected results of the project and action plan already proposed to the federal ministry.

Marco Marchetti, International Project Coordinator, provided an update on the achievements made within the OliveCulture Project. He highlighted the transformative potential of olive cultivation, particularly in rural communities with available arable land and those without marginal or unused land, as a means of poverty alleviation. He also shared the climate change effects and how the Project is considering the Olive Plant as a means to CO2 sequestration. Dr. Costantino Parma, International Expert elaborated on the project’s financial progress and shared the work plan for the extension period.

He underscored the commitment to completing extension phase activities within the designated timeframe, with the assistance of the Ministry and other stakeholders’ support. Throughout the deliberations, the Steering Committee reaffirmed its commitment to fostering a comprehensive and multiprofessional approach toward enhancing the value chain of olive oil cultivation and production in Pakistan.

Discussions focussed on leveraging synergies, optimizing resources, and exploring innovative strategies to bolster the sector’s resilience and competitiveness on both domestic and international fronts. With a collective vision and concerted action, the Steering Committee remains poised to steer the sector towards a path of sustainable growth, prosperity, and resilience of the Olive sector. The Steering Committee approved all the items as per the agenda and decided to extend the project until June 2024.