National palm oil mission will cover 6.5 L hectors; 3.28 L in NE: Tomar
New Delhi, Oct 5: The Government on Tuesday said that the National Mission on Edible Oil- Oil Palm will bring an additional 6.5 lakh hectors of land under palm oil cultivation in the country.
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, speaking at a business summit for the Northeastern region at Guwahati said that out of the 6.5 lakh hectors, 3.28 lakh hectors will come under the Northeast region. The plantation drive will take five years to reach the projected target.
The Union Cabinet, which cleared a proposal for the mission with an outlay of 11,040 crore in August this year, had specially laid focus on this region along with the Andaman Islands for palm oil cultivation.
The mission was taken up to reduce India’s dependence on other countries to meet its edible oil requirements. Close to 60 per cent of its requirements is met through import, making this product the second major imported item after crude oil.
The Minister said the Centre’s decision for making major intervention in North-Eastern states for oil palm promotion will turn the Northeast states into the oil palm hub of the country. He emphasized playing an equal role for the development of the crop and assured to make major investments for seed nurseries, drip irrigation, technical back up, set of mills, purchase centres and training of farmers.
Tomar said his Government was committed to protecting the oil palm farmers through price assurance.
Secretary Agriculture Sanjay Agarwal outlining the Government’s vision while Secretary DARE Dr T. Mohapatra explained in detail the role of R&D for the success of the mission.
Certificates for FPOs formed by NABARD were distributed and an MOU was signed on the occasion with ABPRL and Numaligarh Refinery to establish the first-of-its-kind biorefinery in India to produce renewable green fuel bioethanol.
Major oil palm players such as Godrej Agrovet, Ruchi Soya, Shivaisis and 3F attended the summit.