Islamabad, June 30, 2015 (PPI-OT):President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum and Karachi Industrial Alliance and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Tuesday said self-sufficiency in edible oil production can help country save 2.5 billion dollars annually.
Pakistan for self-sustaining in edible oil production for thirteen years after independence but exploitation of farmers and lack of interest on the part of authorities resulted in imports which are now second largest after fossil fuel in which palm oil enjoys 90 percent share.
Talking to the business community, he said that farmers of different oilseeds are at the mercy of middlemen which is the biggest reason behind lack of interest by growers. He said self-reliance requires to increase land under cultivation, support price, incentives, latest varieties of seed and preference to the coastal belt of Sindh and Balochistan over all other areas.
Mian Zahid Hussain also called for enhanced research and development, subsidy on inputs, interest-free loans, gradual increase on duty of imports, employing better technology, improving capacity of grinding mills and empowering Pakistan Oilseed Development Board.
He said that primitive grinding process result in wastage of two lakh tonnes of cotton seed while 30,000 tonnes could be extracted from rice bran. Pakistan per capita consumption stands at 12-13 litres which is increasing by three percent annually which will increase import bill. But we are producing one-third of the edible oil while rest is imported.
Pakistan imports three different edible oils including RBD palm oil, palm olein, and crude palm oil. Moreover, it imports 95 percent oil in crude form and the rest of five percent in finished form. Free trade agreements with edible oil exporting countries has resulted in giving 15 percent discount on fixed import duties, he said.
He said that 40 to 48 percent oil could be extracted from sunflower, 32 percent from rapeseed while 10 to 12 percent could be obtained from cottonseed. Focus on local production, establishing new edible oil refineries and better functioning of the oilseed extraction industry can help improve situation, create a million jobs and improve forex reserves.
For more information, contact:
Mian Zahid Hussain,
Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF)