In an effort to take Pakistan towards self-reliance in food commodities, especially edible oil, the government has planned to increase the annual domestic edible oil production up to 4.793 million tons in 10 years.
At present, the country produces 0.745 million tons of edible oil annually which is only 8 per cent of the total demand for the commodity of over 5 million tons.
In a meeting held here, presided over by Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, it was informed that in order to meet the local demand, Pakistan imports 4.5 million tons of edible oil annually.
The move would help minimise the huge import bill of the food group that was recorded at$7.575 billion during the first 11 months (Jul-May) of the year 2021-22.
The import of palm oil was recorded at $3,058 billion while that soyabean oil stood at $217.7 million during the period under review.
The meeting, that was held to review the plans with respect to achieving self-dependency in the edible oil, was informed that it has been planned that the production would be gradually increased from the current 0.745 million to 1.192 million in five years and 4.793 million in the next 10 years.
The meeting was attended by the authorities of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, and the Ministry of Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives.
On the occasion, Ahsan Iqbal directed that the plan to take the country towards self-reliance in edible oil should be discussed with all provincial stakeholders and after taking them in confidence on this issue, a feasible roadmap should be finalized within a week.
The minister said the investors in the edible oil production sector should be given special incentives to boost local production.