Agri Business

‘Success of oil palm mission hinges on States’ role’

Our Bureau Mangaluru | Updated on September 26, 2021

It has ticked all the boxes the industry asked for, says Godrej Agrovet MD

Stakeholders and State governments can make the Centre’s ‘National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm’ a success, according to Balram Yadav, Managing Director of Godrej Agrovet.

Making a special presentation on National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) at a meeting followed by the annual general meeting of Solvent Extractors’ Association (SEA) of India in Goa on Thursday, he said the Union Government has ticked all the boxes that the industry had asked for. “I have no complaints, and I think we have got a deal which we had probably never expected as well,” he said.

Stating that a little bit of hand holding is very important at this juncture, he said “the ball is in our court and possibly in the State governments’ court to make it a success. I am very sure if they support it well and utilise the subsidies given by the Central government well, it (NMEO-OP) will be a grand success.”

Addresses all problems

Highlighting some of the issues being faced by the industry, he said the NMEO-OP has addressed these issues. The issues included the lack of quality imported seedlings due to low subsidy, random changes in FFB (fresh fruit bunches) price formula to support farmers at the cost of the processor, non-availability of fertiliser, delay in the release of subsidies by State governments, and lack of overall farmer hand-holding during the gestation period.

The Government has given focus on improving road infrastructure while focusing on North-Eastern parts of the country with regard to the implementation of NMEO-OP. Under the special package for north-east and Andaman and Nicobar islands, the mission offers 50 per cent of the actual cost and 20 per cent of the total outlay on oil palm for roads from field to the nearest FFB collection centre.

“Can you imagine? The government is saying that we will help you make roads to promote a crop,” he said.

Earlier initiatives

On the earlier initiatives in oil palm cultivation, Yadav said it has been successful only in Andhra Pradesh, even though there are factories in Tamil Nadu, Goa, Mizoram etc. Every State started the whole thing with the big bang and kept quiet, he said.

Also see: India’s palm campaign has hard road ahead with water, seedlings scarce

Though the Government says that around 3.7 lakh hectares of area is under oil palm now, it is not more than 2 lakh hectares, he said. Most of the plants have been uprooted. The governments still counts area where they have paid subsidy, whereas farmers have taken subsidy and uprooted, he said.

On the opposition to the NMEO-OP by certain people, he said forests have not been destroyed in the earlier plantings. Some people start opposing everything because of the lack of knowledge. He said the rainfall has improved in places wherever oil palm plantation density is more in Andhra Pradesh in the last 15 years.

Published on September 24, 2021

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