Pakistan imports $456 million soya bean oil from Argentine, China and India annually to meet the country’s requirements of cooking oil. The price of soya bean oil in the international market ranges from $560 to 580 per metric ton. An effort has been made to cultivate soya bean in Pakistan. In the first stage, the crop has been cultivated at an area of 10,000 acres and its expected cost will be between Rs 20,000 and Rs 25,000. The crop will be ready in November and it will cost at least 50 percent less than it is available in the international market.
Pakistan is an agricultural country and it is unfortunate that instead of benefiting from the highly fertile lands, we import even potatoes, tomatoes, onions and other vegetables from India, which costs us millions of dollars foreign exchange.
Malaysia is Asian economic tiger but it started a journey toward economic development by cultivating palm oil and now it is the one of the biggest palm oil exporting country in the world. The oil is still backbone of the Malaysian economy and has allowed duty free exports of crude palm oil for September and October. The country is allowing extension in duty free exports not only to reduce its stockpiles but also pressure Indonesia, the top producer of the tropical oil, to take similar measures. Pakistan can also take lead in various crops whether it is palm or olive farming.
According to newspaper reports, Pakistan has potential to earn $4 billion annually by exporting fruits and vegetables if the government provides a platform to all stakeholders in the horticulture industry. Pakistan has vast green fields on the foothills in the northern side of the country where agriculturists have been encouraged to opt for honey bee farming. Cattle and sheep farming can also be encouraged in the area which are already natural meadowlands while vast fields in Punjab can also be used for breeding of the domestic animals.