Iran’s exemplary olive producer has managed to produce 27 tons of olive seeds per hectare, which has made Iran the most successful producer of olive in the world.
This was made by Jahangir Arab who is in charge of Touba plan.
Touba is a national plan that started in 2000 to increase the production of dried fruits and olive in the country.
“This by itself displays that our research findings, which we encourage farmers to make use of them in their production activities, are completely scientific,” Arab said, the Persian daily ‘Iran’ reported on its Wednesday issue.
Recently some critics have raised doubts about Touba plan and claimed it has not been implemented in a realistic manner.
Arab rejected all criticisms and said quantitative and qualitative expansion of olive in the country has taken place parallel to each other and based on scientific principles.
He said Touba Plan is different from Olive Plan.
“Olive Plan started in 1993 and Touba Plan was implemented in 2000. In fact, these two plans are not related to each other. In the Olive Plan it was expected that with the expansion of olive gardens healthy edible oil can be extracted from olive,” he noted.
In the Touba Plan the target was not reaching self-sufficiency in producing edible oil. Fundamentally speaking, in the Touba Plan it was expected that more dried fruits and olive be produced upon identifying suitable horticultural facilities, which is a comparative advantage for the country, Arab added.
Expert examinations show that the violations that took place in the Touba Plan were below one percent and it seems that this minor violation has led to raising doubts about moves made in these two plans,” he stated.
Commenting on differences between lands ceded for planting olive in Touba Plan and Olive Plan, he said, “Only 10 percent of lands ceded to farmers within the framework of Touba Plan was for olive. … In the Touba Plan the applicant himself should have himself introduced the land and obtain the water permit. However, at present, Agricultural Jihad Ministry has identified suitable lands (for planting olive), obtained the water permit and offered low-profit banking facilities with 10-year installations.”
Arab said olive is among very few products that are planted in a fully scientific manner.
“In order to identify figures for olive production in compliance with climatic conditions of each region in 26 provinces of the country, new gardens have been constructed,” he said.
“However, olives planted in some gardens have not produced favorable economic results. Based on studies, this is rooted in miscalculation of figures for the amount of olive production, mismanagement of the gardens in terms of various factors such as irrigation and confronting horticultural blight. These gardens constitute about eight percent of the total olive gardens of the country,” elaborated the official.
Ministry of Agricultural Jihad is prepared to render the needed technical and scientific support to the owners of olive gardens,’ he noted.
He recalled that the area under cultivation of olive has reached 130,000 hectares from 3,500 hectares since 1993.
He went on to say that the global average is 1,800 kilograms of olive produced in each hectare. This is while in Iran this figure stands at 2,000 kg.
“This shows that what the world has accomplished in 130 years for production of olive per unit area, we have achieved in 15 years.
He underlined that in the past five years Agricultural Jihad Ministry has adopted moves so that results of scientific studies and research be made available to olive farmers in a practical manner, which by itself facilitates scientific and technical expansion of olive production.
Tehran, Baku Urge Enhanced Energy Ties
Azeri President Ilham Aliyev has stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation with Iran in all fields, particularly in the energy sector.
“It is necessary that Iran and Azerbaijan bolster cooperation in various areas and in energy fields in particular,” IRNA quoted Aliyev as saying in a meeting with Iranian Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi in Baku on Wednesday.
He described as “very constructive” his talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Baku in November and in the Turkish city of Istanbul during the 11th summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).
The Iranian oil minister, for his part, called for the expansion of mutual relations and stressed that exchange of visits between the two countries’ officials and experts would prepare the ground for enhanced cooperation in the energy field.
During the meeting, Aliyev and Mirkazemi said the two countries should make use of their great potentialities in the fields of oil, gas and petrochemicals.
Iranian Oil Minister Mirkazemi arrived in the Azeri capital of Baku on Wednesday on a one-day official visit to sign a long-term gas export deal with Azerbaijan.
The two countries are expected to sign a long-term deal on gas export from Azerbaijan to Iran
Power Ties With Russia, Georgia, Tajikistan
Iran intends to expand power ties with Russia, Georgia and Tajikistan, said deputy energy minister, Mohammad Behzad.
“The Energy Ministry has on agenda establishing a power relationship with Azerbaijan and Russia with an output rating of 700 megawatts and connect to the European power network and also connect to power networks of Syria and Lebanon via Iraq and finally connect to the African power network,” Behzad said.
The ministry also intends to connect to the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and other Persian Gulf littoral states through underwater cables,” added the official, IRNA reported on Wednesday.
The current level of power exchanges of Iran with its neighbors is over 1,300 megawatts. The power sector of the country is prepared to increase export of power to 4,000 mega watts for winter, he added.
On Tuesday, the level of power exchanges of neighboring states reached 1,245 megawatts. The highest level of power import pertained to Turkmenistan with over 212 megawatts and the highest level of power export was linked to Iraq with over 675 megawatts. Furthermore, the total exports of power to Afghanistan, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Pakistan and Turkey on Tuesday was 897 megawatts and the total imports of power from Armenia and Turkmenistan stood at 348 megawatts.
It should be recalled that at present Iran exchanges power with Armenia, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2009, total exports of power to neighboring states increased by 58.8 percent compared to the previous year and reached over 6,152 million kilowatt hours. In the same period, total imports of power from neighboring states grew by 22.8 percent compared to the previous year and amounted to , 2,068 million kilowatt hours.
India to Settle Payment Row
A delegation from the Indian oil and economy sector is scheduled to visit Iran on January 14 to explore ways to settle currency payment issues in the two countries’ oil deals.
India expects the dispute to be settled as early as next week, ending a deadlock that has threatened to stall supplies from the Middle Eastern nation.
India’s Oil Secretary S. Sundareshan said on Wednesday that he is “absolutely confident” that the row will be settled. Speaking to Reuters, the officials of the Indian oil ministry said that there will be no stoppage of crude oil supplies from Iran.
The two countries asre working to sort out the dispute that could block imports of 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude and New Delhi is walking a fine line in balancing its energy needs and global diplomatic interests.
“National Iranian Oil Company is extremely collaborative with us on finding a solution,” Sundareshan said. “We are hopeful that by Monday, Tuesday a solution will be found.”
The two nations have not yet been able to find a solution on how New Delhi should pay for oil imports from Iran after India’s central bank said last month that payments to the Middle East country could no longer be settled using a long-standing clearing house system run by regional central banks.
Indian oil firms last month raised petrol prices by 5.6 percent, but increasing diesel prices could have a broader inflationary impact as farmers and manufacturers pass their higher costs along to consumers.
Supply disruptions and extreme cold weather in the Northern Hemisphere have pushed oil prices to the highest in more than two years.
Late in December, Iran had sent a central bank delegation to Mumbai for talks and the Iranian deputy oil minister, Ahmad Khaledi, said at the time that the two sides found a solution by changing the currency of payment.
The problem arose when the Indian Central Bank said import payments to Iran would have to be settled outside the existing Asian Clearing Union (ACU) mechanism.
Under the ACU mechanism, every two months imports by the nine member-nations are settled by every member paying for its import surplus.
$10b Allocated for Mehr Housing
The banking sector, particularly Bank Maskan, has so far given loans up to 102 trillion rials ($10.2 billion) to applicants of Mehr housing project, said Housing Minister Ali Nikzad.
Mehr scheme which is aimed at constructing housing units for the vulnerable strata provides another opportunity for the government to solve the housing problem of workers.
The minister said currently, close to 135 million square meters of urban and rural houses are under construction, adding that foreign firms are interested in housing contract works, IRNA reported.
He pointed out that close to 397,000 construction permits were issued across the cities during March-October 2010, indicating a 57 percent rise in comparison with the figure for the year before.
In addition, about 78,500 construction permits were issued during the mentioned period, showing a 78.5 percent growth against the figure fore the previous year, he said.
At present, about 600,000 rural houses are under construction, Nikzad said.
The official continued that close to 30 percent of Mehr housing units (equivalent to 300,000 units) are being constructed through industrial methods.
Reduction of raw materials, cost and time is the main characteristic of industrial housing construction.
The government and High Council of Urban Development have entrusted industrial housing to the Ministry of Industries and Mines. Prefabricated houses are lighter, better and more resistant.
Once factories for manufacturing prefabricated parts are launched, housing projects will be implemented in a short time.
With the implementation of Mehr plan, the government is removing land price from the housing cost. Based on Mehr plan, people will be given land on a 99-year lease.
Iran Calls for More Pakistani Ties
Iranian Commerce Minister Mehdi Qazanfari held a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Makhdoom Amin Fahim in Islamabad on Wednesday to explore avenues for further consolidation and expansion of economic relations between the two countries.
Qazanfari arrived in Islamabad on Tuesday at the head of a trade and economic delegation to attend the 6th meeting of Iran-Pakistan Joint Trade Commission due to be held on Wednesday and Thursday, Fars News Agency reported.
Also the two sides are slated to discuss Iran-Pakistan trade policy. Based on the official reports, experts groups of the two sides are due to study the agreements inked earlier by the two countries’ delegations.
Iran and Pakistan have increased bilateral ties and mutual cooperation in different fields.
These bonds of friendship and brotherhood, based on commonality of interests, shared traditions, common faith and Islamic heritage, are destined to grow stronger in the years ahead to the mutual benefit of the two nations.
There is a strong desire of the two peoples to further strengthen the bilateral ties in all fields. These relations have been marked by frequent high-level consultations between the leadership of the two countries.
Food and Agro Exhibitions
Two specialized exhibitions in the areas of foodstuff and agro products will be held concurrently at Tehran Permanent Fair Grounds on Friday.