ISLAMABAD (Ayyan Eshfak Mughal):- Pakistan imported 5.7 Metric Tonnes wheat worth of $1.1 billion during the last 20 months after failing to meet of domestic requirement from local production due to high population growth in the country.
According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the country has imported 2.094 million metric tonnes unmilled wheat worth of $752 million during the first eight months (July-Feb) of the current fiscal year. Pakistan had imported 3.383 million metric tonnes wheat value of $916 million during first eight months of the last fiscal year 2020-21.
The country has imported 327,783 metric tonnes wheat worth of $124 million during last month of Feb 2022 to meet the domestic requirement.
Although, the import of wheat is less than last year but it is matter for great concerns that Pakistan has been depending on international market to meet the domestic needs of wheat from couple of years.
The official figures show that the country has imported almost 5.7 million tonnes wheat worth of $1.1 billion to meet the domestic requirement of wheat during last 20 months. Before that, Pakistan had surplus wheat in the country and was also exporting it for getting foreign reserves.
Although Pakistan produced a record wheat crop of 27 million tonnes in the 2021-22, but, it was insufficient to meet the country’s domestic consumption requirements and maintain large strategic reserves due to high population growth in the country.
Pakistan’s annual population is growing by almost 2 percent which is considered as the highest in the world. So future supplies, Pakistan has to either through domestic production or import, must be increased to meet the consumption and stock management goals.
Overall import bill of food commodities has been surged by 20 percent to $ 6.426 billion during the first eight months of the current fiscal year as compared to the same period of the last fiscal year. The price hike of spices, soyabean and palm oil in international market were main factors for increasing the import bill of food group, the data shows.
Despite decreasing in quantity of the products, the import bill of Soyabean oil swelled by 69 percent to $82 million from $48 million, palm oil by 54 percent to $2.438 billion from $ 1.585 billion and sugar by 50 percent to $190 million from $127 million during the eight months of current fiscal year as compared to the same period of the last fiscal year. The country has also imported 106,937 metric tonnes spices worth of $158 million during the eight months of the current fiscal year, 14 percent higher from same period of the last fiscal year. Pakistan also imported 177,671 metric tonnes tea worth of $423 million during the eight months of the current fiscal, 14 percent higher in terms of dollars as compared to the same period of the last fiscal year.
Experts believe that Pakistan imports wheat from Russia and Ukraine to meet local requirement of the country. Pakistan has to search some other markets for wheat due to going on war.