- Recently, the Prime Minister has announced a new national initiative on palm oil production to help increase farm incomes.
- The scheme, called National Edible Oil Mission-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP), for self-reliance in edible oil involves investment of over Rs. 11,000 crore (over a five year period).
- To harness domestic edible oil prices that are dictated by expensive palm oil imports.
- To raise the domestic production of palm oil by three times to 11 lakh MT by 2025-26.
This will involve raising the area under oil palm cultivation to 10 lakh hectares by 2025-26 and 16.7 lakh hectares by 2029-30.
- The special emphasis of the scheme will be in India’s north-eastern states and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands due to the conducive weather conditions in the regions.
- Under the scheme, oil palm farmers will be provided financial assistance and will get remuneration under a price and viability formula.
- It is expected to incentivise production of palm oil to reduce dependence on imports and help farmers cash in on the huge market.
- India is the largest consumer of vegetable oil in the world. Of this, palm oil imports are almost 55% of its total vegetable oil imports.
- India produces less than half of the roughly 2.4 crore 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.
- In India, 94.1% of its palm oil is used in food products, especially for cooking purposes. This makes palm oil extremely critical to India’s edible oils economy.
- Palm oil is currently the world’s most consumed vegetable oil.
- It is used extensively in the production of detergents, plastics, cosmetics, and biofuels.
- Top consumers of the commodity are India, China, and the European Union (EU).
- There are two major features, which have significantly contributed to the development of this sector. One was the setting up of the Technology Mission on Oilseeds in 1986 which was converted into a National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP) in 2014.
- Further it was merged with NFSM (National Food Security Mission).
- This gave a thrust to Government’s efforts for augmenting the production of oilseeds. This is evident by the very impressive increase in the production of oilseeds from about 11.3 million tons in 1986-87 to 33.22 million tons in 2019-20.
- The other dominant feature which has had significant impact on the present status of edible oilseeds/oil industry has been the program of liberalization under which the Government’s economic policy allows greater freedom to the open market and encourages healthy competition and self regulation rather than protection and control.
- The Yellow Revolution is one of the colour revolutions that was launched to increase the production of Edible oilseeds in the country to meet domestic demand.
- The government has also launched the Kharif Strategy 2021 for oilseeds.
- It will bring an additional 6.37 lakh hectare area under oilseeds and is likely to produce 120.26 lakh quintals of oilseeds and edible oil amounting to 24.36 lakh quintals.
- Oils Commonly Used in India: Groundnut, mustard, rapeseed, sesame, safflower, linseed, niger seed, castor are the major traditionally cultivated oilseeds.
- Soybean and sunflower have also assumed importance in recent years.
- Coconut is most important amongst the plantation crops.
SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT