KARACHI - The import bill of food item has increased by 8.68 percent to $239.088 million dollars in the first month of current fiscal 2008-09 against $219.994 million dollars of same period of last fiscal 2007-08. The food sector stood fourth in annual import bill as well first month of current FY08 while the total imports of food group enlarged to over $5 billion dollars. Similarly, a huge growth of 88.92 percent has been registered in the imports of the milk, cream & milk food for infants as its imports reached to $7.976 million dollars against $4.222 million dollars of corresponding period of last fiscal. An analyst says despite being the fifth largest producer of milk, Pakistan is importing bill and its production as the country is yet to witness white revolution. He said the country has potential to develop the dairy farming which can serve both domestic and foreign markets but government has not taken concrete steps to develop this important sector, he maintained. It may be mentioned here that previous Musharraf government has vowed to bring white revolution in form of establishing dairy farms in different areas of country but according to officials of Sindh government, the various projects announced for the development of dairy farming but these could not be initiated due to lack of funds. Meanwhile, wheat import bill increased by 473.69 percent in first month of current FY09 as country had spent $30.245 million dollars over $5.272 million dollars of same period of last FY08. According to official statistics of FBS, the nominal decline of 6.69 percent observed in Palm oil imports which stood at $107.169 million dollars in July of FY09 over $114.851 million dollars of same month of last FY08. The imports of dry fruits and nuts have increased by 52 percent to $21.080 million dollars in July of FY09 over $13.860 million dollars, Tea import reached to $6.722 million dollars against $4.824 million dollars of same period of last fiscal and pulses enlarged to $25.882 million dollars in July of current fiscal.   When The Nation contacted President Sindh Abadgar Board Abdul Majeed Nizamani he said the production of wheat was in surplus than annual consumption need of 22 million tons of country includes Afghanistan. The mismanagement and lack of governance to handle the crisis was led the decision to import 1.5 million tons wheat in current fiscal, he said, adding that government was not ready to take action against profiteers who hoarded the commodity in large quantity. The hoarder mafia freely doing crime in form of creating artificial shortage of commodity in country and fleecing the common citizens but government seemed unable to take action against influential mafia. The surging food import bill is assuming serious proportions, making it imperative to focus on a stagnant agriculture sector. These huge imports, a result of policy failures, can only be reduced by raising farm productivity and production. The experts claim that domestic issues affecting the edifice of agriculture are being allowed to worsen, both at policy and management levels. Nizamani further said, if the government could ensure required facilities for cutting down post-harvest losses for availability of water, high-yielding seeds and right price for production, than import bill will automatically down drastically. Pakistan can become an exporter of the foodstuff if the government concentrates on agriculture, corrects past mistakes and takes new initiatives particularly on two sub-sectors i.e. horticulture and livestock, he concludes.