23.07.2020 (www.thehindubusinessline.com) - Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday appealed to the farmers in North-East States to take up oil palm cultivation with an aim to make India self-sufficient in edible oils. The Prime Minister recommended the State governments of N-E region to set up oil palm missions in their respective States to promote cultivation of the oilseed.
He was delivering an address during an online foundation stone laying ceremony of Manipur Water Supply Project.
India is heavily dependent on imported edible oils. With nearly 15 million tonnes (or nearly 68 per cent) of edible oils gets imported to meet the country’s annual requirements of about 22 million tonnes. Of the total 15 million tonnes of imports, nearly 60 per cent or about 9 million tonnes is palm oils.
“Agri-scientists and agro economists are saying that North-East farmers have a potential to take up oil palm cultivation. If they actually take it up, it will be a big help to the country, the North-East region and the farming community here. (Because), India is an assured market for palm oils. If the N-E farmers do it along with the organic farming, imagine how big the service to the nation that would be and a boost for our economy,” Modi said in his address.
The industry has welcomed the Prime Minister's suggestion terming it to be a step to support Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative.
“Prime Minister has appealed to farmers of Manipur and North East states to adopt Oil palm plantation in a big way to support Atmanirbhar Bharat programme to reduce the import of Palm oil. SEA since many years has been raising this issue to focus on oil palm plantation to reduce our dependence on imported palm oil,” said Atul Chaturvedi, President, Solvent Extractors' Association of India.
Per an estimate, the North-East region has about 2,80,000 ha of land potential for oil palm plantations but only 30,000 ha are covered.