KHAR: The Agriculture Department of Bajaur tribal district has started distribution of free of cost olive saplings among local farmers as part of the spring plantation campaign.

A ceremony in this regard was organised in Civil Colony in Khar, the district headquarters. Deputy Commissioner Bajaur Usman Mehsud opened the campaign by distributing olive saplings among the farmers. On the occasion, he also planted an olive sapling at the Agriculture Department office.

In his address, the deputy commissioner said olive tree plantation will improve the economy of the area and it will also put positive impact on environment.

Assistant Director Agriculture Ziaul Islam said 250,000 olive saplings will be planted in Bajaur tribal district this year. He said 21,000 saplings will be planted per 210 acres land. He said any farmer interested in olive tree plantation can submit an application with the Agriculture Department Office. He said that after receiving application, the Agriculture Department team will prepare a feasibility report to plant saplings on the land of the applicants.

The people of Bajaur after coming to know about the benefit of olive tree plantation are now growing olive trees on their lands in increasing number.

The Agriculture Department says about 400,000 olive plants have been planted in Salarzai, Barang, Charmang, Utmankhel and Khar tehsils since 2008. It says the local people are coming in large number to seek guidance of the Agriculture Department for this purpose.

Divisional Forest Officer Hayat Ali says plantation is underway in Bajaur under the prime minister’s ten billion trees scheme for the country. He says the Forest Department prefers to plant those trees that can bear the impact of climate change. He says 9,000 olive trees have been planted under the same initiative this year.

Agriculture experts say the olive tree did not require much water. The impact of climate change has severely affected the production of certain trees in Bajaur, but olive tree can grow in this environment. Olive tree only requires 5.5mm water in a year. The Agriculture Department is planting more olive trees in area which are facing water shortage. Five species of olive plants are being planted in Bajaur according to the recommendations of experts.

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