Telangana can become emerging in oil palm production: Tomar

New Delhi: Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday lauded efforts made by the Telangana government in the promotion of oil palm cultivation and said the southern state can become an emerging leader in palm oil production.

Telangana has notified 26 districts for oil palm cultivation and set a target of five lakh hectares of plantation for 2022-23. Around 11 oil processors are operating in the state at present.

Recently, the central government came out with the National Mission on Edible Oil-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) to boost domestic production and cut import dependence.

Addressing a business summit in Hyderabad to promote the centrally sponsored scheme NMEO-OP, Tomar “assured all the state governments that there will be no shortage of resources for the successful implementation of this scheme”.

Currently, about three lakh hectares of land is under palm oil cultivation, while studies have shown that about 28 lakh hectares of land is suitable for oil palm cultivation in the country, he said.

“It is our mission to bring 28 lakh hectares of land under cultivation to make India Atmanirbhar in edible oil,” he added.

Appreciating the efforts made by the Telangana government to increase palm oil production, Tomar said that he sees “Telangana as an emerging leader in oil palm production”.

Speaking on the occasion, Telangana Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy said the state government has drawn an ambitious plan for oil palm expansion, while Kerala Agriculture Minister P Prasad shared that the state government is also emphasising the promotion of oil palm in the state.

Talking about the scope of natural farming in the state, the Union agriculture minister also called upon the state government to adopt and promote natural farming to reduce the production cost without hampering production.

Further, Tomar expressed happiness at the progress made under NMEO-LP since the first business summit held in Guwahati, an official statement said.

The minister said the Centre has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with nine state governments for viability gap payment, finalised revised annual action plans (AAPs) of 11 states incorporating new provisions of the mission and organised a national workshop on oil palm in Arunachal Pradesh as sub-theme of the crop diversification programme.

AAPs of 11 states worth Rs 106.90 crore were approved for area expansion in 6,563 hectares, replanting 3,058 hectares maintenance and inter-cropping in 25,197 hectares of existing and new oil palm orchards and drip irrigation facility in 1,569 hectares of palm orchards, he said.

The minister also said four processing mills will be established in northeastern states with subsidies from the mission. In addition, three seed gardens and 39 nurseries will be created for increasing the availability of seed sprouts and seedlings.

A total of 360 vermicompost sheds for the production of quality organic manure and 18 custom hiring centres for renting garden tools will also be made operational in the current year.

Further, a meeting was held with Indian ambassadors of major oil palm sprouts exporting countries to ensure an uninterrupted supply of quality planting materials in large quantities, he added.

Telangana Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar expressed hope that the state would emerge as the largest oil-palm producing area in the country in 3-4 years.

He outlined the state initiatives in this regard saying that Telangana has placed indents for procurement of 324 lakh seed sprout, while 1,045 hectares of land has been purchased for seed nurseries and 23 nurseries have already been established in the state.