Ways to reduce import bills of edible oils in Pakistan

Being an agriculture country, Pakistan is still facing shortage of edible oils. Pakistan is ranked 3rd among the largest importers of edible oil. The consumption and demand of edible oil is increasing day by day with the increase in population growth rate.

Ways to reduce import bills of edible oils in PakistanAccording to a research, per capita consumption of edible oil is 2.5 m tons and at industrial level it is near about to 1.5 m tons. Total requirement of edible oil is (3.912 m ton) but our local production is only 0.436 m ton (12%) while the remaining 88% is fulfilled by imports.

According to PBS (public broadcasting service), in the first six months of 2018, edible oil imports accounted for 35 percent of food import bill of $3.24 billion. Pakistan imports edible oil from different part of world such as Argentina, USA, Netherlands, Singapore, Malaysia, Norway and South Korea.

Due to diverse climatic condition Pakistan has a great potential for successful production of oilseed crop. Furthermore, there is a vast range of crops which are the best opportunity to overcome the import of edible oil.

Pakistan produced 70% edible oil from non-true oil seed crop i-e cotton. So there is need to promote the cultivation of true oilseed crop on large scale such as soybean, sunflower, Canola, Coconut, Corn, Olive etc.

There are also some domestic means, through livestock for getting oils, vanaspati (Hydrogenated ghee in Pakistan is called as vanaspati), butter etc. These resources can fulfill our requirements related to edible oils but at small scale. Most of the population living in rural areas they used their home made butter.

But now days, due to modernization this trend has been changed, people starts using synthetic things. That’s why consumption rate of edible oil almost same as in urban areas according to population scenario.

As per consumption point of view types of edible oils used in Pakistan are Canola oil, Sunflower seeds oil, Palm oil, Soybean oil, Cotton seed oil and Mustard oil. These have great nutritious values and use in the form of cooking oil and ghee.

The main reason of the import is the lack of awareness about oil seeds crops among the farmer community. Cultivation of major crops (wheat, cotton, sugarcane, rice and maize) is on large scale and continuing ignorance to minor crops (oil seed).

Shortage of quality seed and market set up for oil seed crop. Low yielding cultivars, insect-pest attack, diseases and weeds are the key hurdles to successful production of oil seed crop.

Population growth and import of edible oils:

Years Population Import(tons)
2006 161.51 1696
2007 164.44 1787
2008 166.41 2700
2009 169.1 2347
2010 173.5 1878
2011 175.31 2176
2012 178.91 2283
2013 182.53 2322
2014 186.53 2443
2015 189.87 1796

If Pakistan continuously ignores this situation, then in the future the government will invite major problems for the edible oil industry in the country.


  • It is important to popularize the promotion and cultivation of oilseed crops among the farming community.
  • Evolution of early maturing varieties, stabilization of support prices and strengthening of the marketing system are incentives that may prove helpful in this direction.
  • Soybean is one of the most important oil seed crops which contain about 20% oil. In Pakistan it has greater potential areas for cultivation but it is restricted to some specific areas. So there is need to expand the area of cultivation in such places of Pakistan which are not used at certain season of the years could produce a huge amount of soybean in the country. These areas are Cotton fallow, dry land and riverine lands. Furthermore, soybean is grown in both season’s spring and autumn as well.
  • Inter cropping is the best way to enhance the area of production or yield so it is considering a best way to intercrop the oil seeds crops with other crops such as maize, sugarcane, wheat etc.
  • It is observed that there is large area which is not under cultivation due to saline and waterlogging. There should be proper management of these problematic soils. Provision of canal irrigation water, addition of gypsum and sulphuric or nitric acid in proper amount, deep ploughing and inclusion of green manure crops. While water logged soils managed by the grasses, trees and sunflower production
  • By creating awareness for oilseed crop production through extension wing, electronic media, conducting farmer field day and field trial to convince farming community.
  • By providing the site specific production technology and modern innovation in agriculture practices to farmers.
  • should provide subsidies on farm produce and agriculture inputs.
  • There should be agriculture policy for the oilseed crops to check and balance by ministry of agriculture.
  • Farmer should take part voluntarily as Govt. of Pakistan announced in Pakistan emergency agriculture scheme 2019 and they have set the target to increase the area under oilseed crop about 1.5 m ha.
  • There is a need to improve the management practices for the increase in production of oil seed crops. Introduction of high yielding cultivars, early maturing, resistant to insect-pest and adaptable to local condition of an area.
  • Different programs should be start for the enhancement of area and Production of non- traditional oil seed crops.
  • Attract the small farmers towards the oil seed crops with the provision of seeds, fertilizers, and irrigation of water.

Keeping in view the above discussion import of edible oil can be decreased by the local production of edible oil. Soybean is an emerging oilseed crop and has well potential for cultivation in Pakistan all over. So there is need to promote oilseed crop production in country.

Authors: Haroon Zaman Khan, Muhammad Atif Shabir, Muhammad Abrar, Sadia Altaf, Ahmad Mukhtar and Areena Kiran

Muhammad ABRAR

Muhammad Abrar M.Sc.(Hons.) Agronomy University of Agriculture Faisalabad. Ex.Research Fellowship Nigde Omer Helisdemir University, Turkey. +92 347 0357410

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