- Contrary to some northeastern States such as Meghalaya, the Arunachal Pradesh government is keen on reaping the benefits of oil palm cultivation under the National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm (NMEO-OP).
News in Detail
- According to a study by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, 9 lakh hectares out of 28 lakh hectares recommended for oil palm cultivation are in the northeastern States. The largest chunk is in Arunachal Pradesh.
- Arunachal Pradesh has 25 lakh hectares of cultivable area of which only 2.5 lakh hectares has been put to use.
- CM attributed the slow coverage of oil palm cultivation in Arunachal Pradesh to the lack of commitment from promoters in setting up processing factories within the State, making farmers lose confidence.
- Meghalaya has been the strongest critic of the push for oil palm as it believes that oil palm would denude forest cover and destroy the habitat of endangered wildlife in the ecologically fragile region.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the National Edible Oil Mission-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP), with an investment of over Rs 11,000 crore to boost domestic oilseed production and make the country self-sufficient in cooking oils.
- With palm oil having 55 per cent share in total edible oil imports, NMEO-OP would ensure that farmers get all facilities, from quality seeds to technology to promote cultivation of palm and other oil seeds.
- The Prime Minister said while India has become self-sufficient or Atma Nirbhar in the production of rice, wheat and sugar, it was not enough as the country is dependent on huge imports of edible oils.
- India is the world’s biggest vegetable oil importer. India produces less than half of the roughly 2.5 million tonnes of edible oil that it consumes annually. It imports the rest, buying palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia, soyoil from Brazil and Argentina, and sunflower oil, mainly from Russia and Ukraine, with the import bill hovering around Rs 75,000 crore per year.
- The increase in cultivation of oil palm will not only benefit farmers but also consumers who would get quality cooking oils at a cheaper rate.
- Besides, it would benefit processors and the entire value chain, thereby creating job opportunities.