Pakistan’s food import bill grew by 53.91 per cent to $8.347 billion year-on-year during the previous fiscal year (FY21), mainly due to sugar, wheat, palm oil and pulses imports to bridge the shortfall in domestic production of agriculture produce.
The rising food import bill also triggered trade deficit that may cause some uneasiness on the external side for the government.
Data compiled by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) released here on Monday showed the share of food items in the total import bill reached 14.79pc this year, compared to 12.17pc last year, indicating the country’s growing reliance on imports to ensure food security.
In the budget for 2021-22, the government has proposed several measures, including allocation of billions of rupees for increasing per acre yield, reducing wastage and establishing big stores for keeping staple food items.
The total import bill inched up by 26.60pc to $56.405bn in FY21 as against $44.552bn over the corresponding period of last year.
Sugar, wheat, palm oil, pulses main items procured from abroad to meet demand at home
The eatable import bill of all products posted growth in value and quantity during the period under review, a clear indication of shortage in domestic production. Within the food group import, the major contribution came from wheat, sugar, edible oil, spices, tea and pulses.
Edible oil import witnessed a substantial increase during the period under review in quantity, value and per value terms.