ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — With slow recovery in the poultry sector and sluggish demand for edible oils, no significant growth is expected in Pakistan’s total oilseed use for 2022-23, according to a report from the Foreign Agricultural Service of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Use is estimated at 6.4 million tonnes, a 3% increase from last year. Most oilseeds are used for crushing, including rapeseed and sunflower seed for oil production. Crushing to produce meal drives soybean demand and the poultry industry is the primary user.

“Poultry production is still struggling to recover following over two years of COVID-19 related foodservice restrictions, which curbed poultry meat sales,” the USDA said.

Imports of soybean, canola and palm oil are expected to hold steady at 3.4 million tonnes. No growth is expected in edible oil imports for 2022-23 and are forecast at 3.7 million tonnes. Soybean and rapeseed imports for 2022-23 are forecast to remain on par with the previous year at 2.6 million and 0.8 million tonnes, respectively. While facing significant price pressure and potential for disruption in supplies from key exporters, palm oil is forecast to remain the major imported oil, with imports forecast at 3.6 million tonnes.

“In addition to relatively high prices, oilseed and edible oil import prospects are clouded by inconsistent freight availability and a tepid rebound in demand for meal from the poultry sector,” the USDA said.

Oilseed production, however, is estimated to increase 6% to 3 million tonnes due to an expected increase in cottonseed production. Rapeseed/canola and sunflower seed production are expected to increase compared to last year, but their share of total oilseed production is very small.

Domestic oil and meal production are forecast to increase 2.5% and 5%, respectively, due to expectations for an increase in domestic cottonseed production.

Oilseed and edible oil stocks are expected to remain at minimum pipeline levels, equivalent to about one month of domestic needs, as importers and processors strategically manage cash flow in the midst of elevated prices, the USDA said.