ADDITIONAL 6.5 LAKH HECTARES FOR PALM OIL BY 2025-26

  • Recently, the Prime Minister announced a National Mission on Edible Oil-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP), with an investment of over Rs 11,000 crore over a five-year period.
  • However, some environmentalists have raised concerns over the disastrous impact of palm oil plantations.

Important points:

  • NMEO-OP is a new Centrally Sponsored Scheme. It is proposed to have an additional 6.5 lakh hectares for palm oil by 2025-26.
  • It will involve raising the area under oil palm cultivation to 10 lakh hectares by 2025-26 and 16.7 lakh hectares by 2029-30.
  • Oil palm farmers will be provided financial assistance and will get remuneration under a price and viability formula.
  • The Viability Formula is a Minimum Support Price-type mechanism and the government will fix this at 14.3% of Crude Palm Oil (CPO) price.
  • It will eventually go up to 15.3%.
  • Another focus area of the scheme is to substantially increase the support of inputs/interventions.
  • Special assistance will be given to replant old gardens for their rejuvenation.

Special Focus:

  • The special emphasis of the scheme will be in India’s North-Eastern (NE) states and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands due to the conducive weather conditions in the regions.
  • To attract industry to the NE and Andaman regions, a provision of Rs 5 crore of 5 mt/hr (million tonne per hectare) with pro-rata increase for higher capacity will be given.
  • To harness domestic edible oil prices that are dictated by expensive palm oil imports and become self-reliant in edible oil.

Way Forward

  • If similar subsidies and support are extended to oilseeds which are indigenous to India and suited for dryland agriculture, they can help achieve self-reliance without dependence on oil palm.
  • A solution would be to grow oil palm on agricultural land if farmers are willing to do it and the government incentivises it.

SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT

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