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Pakistan's food imports, a topic of discussion in recent months, amounted to $1.47 billion during the first two months of the current financial year, jumping 50% year-on-year.

As per the latest data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the country’s food import bill clocked in at $1,473.45 million during July-August 2021, compared with $980.96 million in the same period of the previous year.

Of the food group, palm oil imports were the major constituent, amounting to $577.02 million during July-August 2021, as compared to $352.72 million imported in the same period last year, reflecting an increase of over 63%.

However, it was the import of sugar that jumped massively, increasing from a mere $850,000 in July-August 2020 to $53.832 million in July-August 2021, an increase of an eye-boggling 6233%.

Jul-Aug period: CA posts $2.2bn deficit on higher import bill

Furthermore, the import of wheat and pulses also increased significantly to $16.46 million and $154.93 million, an increase of 72.5% and 92%, respectively.

In recent months, the government has been importing wheat and sugar to the tune of hundreds of thousands of tons in order to maintain strategic reserves and price stability in the market.

On the other hand, the increased imports of edible items have led to food inflation, which has become a major challenge for the government.

Days ago, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said that the country is passing through a period when food inflation is a major challenge.

Tarin describes food inflation as 'major' challenge

He said that the prices of food commodities are increasing the world over and ghee prices have increased 90 percent, and pulses 40 to 50 percent. "We are importing all these commodities," he said, adding that the government has been providing relief to the people on petroleum products.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's imports in August 2021 were recorded at $6,593 million as compared to $5,575 million in July 2021, an increase of 18.26%, and by 98.82% when compared to $ 3,316 million in August 2020.

On a cumulative basis, imports during July-August, 2021 totaled $12,168 million as against $6,990 million during the corresponding period last year, showing an increase of 74.08%.

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