ISLAMABAD: Pakistan imported 1.467 million tons of edible oil which cost US$ 1.654 billion (Rs. 145 billion) to national exchequer during first nine months of current fiscal year.
Total requirement of edible oil at present in the country is 2.045 million tons and local production during this year was 0.636 million tons.
According to data released by Pakistan Oilseed Development Board, the total availability of edible oil was 3.079 million tons last year, of which local production contributed 0.696 million tons (34 percent of the requirement) while imports of edible oil or oilseeds was 2.383 million ton.
It said the import bill reached Rs 224 billion (US$ 2.611 billion) during last year.
The major oilseed crops grown in the country include sunflower, canola, cottonseed and mustard. Although the cotton crop is grown for its lint, and cottonseed contributes 50 to 60 percent of local edible oil production.
It is estimated that 10 percent of the total availability of edible oil is consumed in industries like cosmetics, paints and other allied products.
The data said around 200,000 tons of edible oil is exported, mainly to Afghanistan which does not include smuggling through porous borders which is not accounted for.
Regarding other crops, the data said production of mung and potato has increased by 22.0 percent and 17.5 percent respectively during the period mentioned above, however, the production of chillies, onion, masoor (lentil) and mash decreased by 78.3 percent, 15.4 percent 12.8 percent and 3.5 percent respectively.
The area sown for masoor, onion and chillies decreased by 13.8 percent, 14.9 percent and 65.7 percent respectively. There was an increase of area sown for moong and potatoes by 2.5 percent and 16.2 percent respectively. APP