THE PAKISTAN DEVELOPMENT REVIEW
Pakistan’s Edible Oil Needs and Prospects for Self-sufficiency
In today’s world economy, financial crises have been quite rampant and have been a source of greater misery, deprivation and poverty among a growing number of countries [Wolfensehn (1998)]. Some of the major causes of this state of affairs especially in Pakistan lie in rising debt servicing liabilities, receding donor assistance and growing saving-investment and import-export gaps [UN (1997)]. To the extent that the above situation can be ameliorated considerably by emphasis on domestic production especially in agriculture, this paper looks at possibilities of increasing the production of oil-crops for eliminating edible oil imports. It must be noted that self-reliance in edible oil is not important in its own right but would also be consistent with more judicious use of domestic resources, greater food security, enhanced welfare of consumers and producers and above all saving of scarce foreign exchange resources [Goldman (1975) and Mellor and Johnston (1984)]. In line with the above, the paper has the following outline. Section 2 reviews edible oil situation in the country. The factors underlying the growing edible oil deficit are highlighted in Section 3. In Section 4 discussion is centred on policy alternatives for attainment of self-sufficiency in edible oils through local production. The final Section 5 summarises the conclusions of the paper.