The government has planned to increase the annual edible oil production up to 4.79 million tons over the next 10 years in an effort to take the country towards self-sufficiency in food commodities, especially in edible oil.
Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal presided over a meeting on Friday to review the measures being undertaken to achieve self-sufficiency in edible oil.
It was informed that Pakistan imported 4.5 million tons of edible oil annually to meet its demand. At present, the country produces just 0.745 million tons of edible oil annually, which is only 8% of the total demand of over 5 million tons.
The move would help minimise the huge import bill of the food group that was recorded at $7.57 billion in the first 11 months (Jul-May) of fiscal year 2021-22.
The import of palm oil was recorded at $3.06 billion while that of soybean oil stood at $217.7 million during the period under review.
The meeting reviewed the measures being taken for palm oil sufficiency and planned that the production would be gradually increased from the current 0.745 million tons to 1.192 million tons in five years and to 4.793 million tons in the next 10 years.
Ahsan Iqbal directed that the plan to take the country towards self-reliance in edible oil should be discussed with all provincial stakeholders and a feasible roadmap should be finalised within a week after taking all of them onboard.
The minister said investors in the edible oil sector should be given special incentives to boost local production.
He said making the country self-sufficient in edible oil was the top priority of the government’s development agenda and directed to engage the private sector to expedite the process.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 2nd, 2022.