ISLAMABAD: Pakistan can save $ 2.5 billion under the head of palm oil import bill if local production of edible oil seeds is promoted, said Chairman of the United International Group Mian Shahid on Sunday.
He said the oil import bill is set to rise as the population is increasing with a fast pace which will hurt forex reserves therefore government should promote edible oil sector to make country self-sufficient.
He said Pakistan remained self-reliant in the edible oil sector for long but the sector declined due to apathy of the authorities and now national production stands one-third of the demand, adding that the planters are on the mercy of buyers due to lack of government intervention and absence of a support price mechanism.
Mian Shahid said that proper attention, good seed varieties, cheap inputs, latest technology and incentives can increase area under cultivation which will turn this sector around.
He said primitive oil mills are wasting hundreds of thousands of oil seed during extraction process while thirty thousand tonnes of oil can be extracted from the rice bran which needs attention of the private sector.
He said per capita use of edible oil in Pakistan stands at 13 litres while its usage is increasing by three percent per annum. He said modern refineries can improve extraction and quality of edible oil while providing improved revenue to the government.