September 22, 2014 – M Rafique Goraya – BR Report –
The three percent annual increase in edible oil consumption is a great burden on the country’s foreign exchange, Atif Ikram Sheikh, newly-elected Chairman of Pakistan Vanaspati Manufacturers Association (PVMA), said on Sunday. In his first meeting with the stakeholders after being elected unopposed, he said the draining of for exchange reserves owing to import of edible oil, calls for increased availability of domestic and imported oilseeds, new edible oil refineries and better functioning of the oilseed extraction industry.
He stated that PVMA should strive to deliver better products on affordable rates to the people and make Pakistan self-sufficient in edible oil production through offering full co-operation to the government. The government should also pay attention to this critical industry to create employment opportunities, gain revenue and save over $2 billion per annum, he added.
Atif Ikram Sheikh said that Pakistan imported 2.2 million tonnes of edible oil from January to December 31, 2013; 60 percent was imported from Malaysia, while remaining from Indonesia, he said, adding that imported oil was meeting around 65 per cent demand of the consumers which must be tackled.
“The total demand for the edible oil in Pakistan currently stands at around 3.2 million tonnes of which 1.44 million tonnes palm oil products worth $1.34 billion are imported from Malaysia, making Pakistan the fifth largest importer of Malaysian palm oil. There are ample opportunities for the private sectors of the two countries to synergize, due to Pakistan’s strategic geographical location,” said Atif Ikram Sheikh.
He urged Indonesian and Malaysian companies to collaborate with Pakistani companies in developing other areas for the edible oil trade.