Economic Survey of Pakistan 2021-22 confirms that the nation's GDP grew nearly 6% in the current fiscal year, reaching $1.62 Trillion in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). It first crossed the trillion dollar mark in 2017. In nominal US$ terms, the size of Pakistan's economy is now $383 billion. In terms of the impact of economic growth on average Pakistanis, the per capita average daily calorie intake jumped to 2,735 calories in FY 2021-22 from 2,457 calories in 2019-20. Pakistan experienced broad-based economic growth across all key sectors in FY 21-22; manufacturing posted 9.8% growth, services 6.2% and agriculture 4.4%. The 4.4% growth in agriculture is particularly welcome; it helps reduce rural poverty. The country's per capita income is $1,798 in nominal terms and $7,551 in PPP dollars. These figures do not yet show up in Google searches. Under former Prime Minister Imran Khan's leadership, Pakistan succeeded in achieving outstanding economic growth and nutritional improvements in spite of surging global food prices amid the Covid19 pandemic. Increasing energy consumption and soaring global energy prices have rapidly depleted Pakistan's forex reserves, forcing the country to seek yet another IMF bailout. History tells us that these bailouts have been forced whenever Pakistan's GDP growth has exceeded 5%. The best way for Pakistan to accelerate its growth beyond 5% in a sustainable manner is to boost its exports by investing in export-oriented industries, and by incentivizing higher savings and investments.
|Pakistan Economic Data. Source: IMF April 2022
The IMF (International Monetary Fund) has updated its website in April, 2022 with data reported for FY 2020-21. It's not unusual for the IMF data reporting to lag by a year or more. Pakistan's Economic Survey 2021-22 was published in June, 2022.
|Sector-wise Economic Growth. Source: Economic Survey of Pakistan 2021-22
Pakistan experienced broad-based economic growth across all key sectors in FY 21-22; manufacturing posted 9.8% growth, services 6.2% and agriculture 4.4%. The 4.4% growth in agriculture is particularly welcome; it helps reduce rural poverty.
In terms of the impact of economic growth on average Pakistanis, the per capita average daily calorie intake jumped to 2,735 calories in FY 2021-22 from 2,457 calories in 2019-20. The biggest contributor to it is the per capita consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables which soared from 53.6 Kg to 68.3 Kg, less than half of the 144 Kg (400 grams/day) recommended by the World Health Organization. Healthy food helps cut disease burdens and reduces demand on the healthcare system. Under former Prime Minister Imran Khan's leadership, Pakistan succeeded in achieving these nutritional improvements in spite of surging global food prices amid the Covid19 pandemic.
|Pakistan Per Capita Daily Calorie Consumption. Source: Economic Surveys of Pakistan
The trend of higher per capita daily calorie consumption has continued since the 1950s. It has risen from about 2,078 in 1949-50 to 2,400 in 2001-02 and 2735 in 2021-22. The per capita per day protein intake in grams increased from 63 to 67 to about 75 during these years. Health experts recommend that women consume at least 1,200 calories a day, and men consume at least 1,500 calories a day, says Harvard Health Publishing. The global average has increased from 2360 kcal/person/day in the mid-1960s to 2900 kcal/person/day currently, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) estimates that most women need 1,600 to 2,400 calories, while the majority of men need 2,000 to 3,000 calories each day to maintain a healthy weight. Global Hunger Index defines food deprivation, or undernourishment, as consumption of fewer than 1,800 calories per day.
|Share of Overweight or Obese Adults. Source: Our World in Data
The share of overweight or obese adults in Pakistan's population is estimated by the World Health Organization at 28.4%. It is 20% in Bangladesh, 19.7% in India, 32.3% in China, 61.6% in Iran and 68% in the United States.
|Major Food Items Consumed in Pakistan. Source: Economic Survey of Pakistan 2021-22
The latest edition of the Economic Survey of Pakistan estimates that per capita calories come from the annual per capita consumption of 164.7 Kg of cereals, 7.3 Kg of pulses (daal), 28.3 Kg of sugar, 168.8 liters of milk, 22.5 Kg of meat, 2.9 Kg of fish, 8.1 dozen eggs, 14.5 Kg of ghee (cooking oil) and 68.3 Kg of fruits and vegetables. Pakistan's economy grew 5.97% and agriculture outputs increased a record 4.4% in FY 2021-22, according to the Economic Survey. The 4.4% growth in agriculture has boosted consumption and supported Pakistan's rural economy.
The minimum recommended food basket in Pakistan is made up of basic food items (cereals, pulses, fruits, vegetables, meat, milk, edible oils and sugar) to provide 2150 kcal and 60gram protein/day per capita.
The state of Pakistan's social sector is not as dire as the headlines suggest. There are good reasons for optimism. Key indicators show that nutrition and health in Pakistan are improving but such improvements need to be accelerated.
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