Thursday, August 6, 2020
North East has Potential to Emerge as Largest Oil Palm Cultivator in the Country
* OPDPA, continues to request government to introduce structural and policy changes to fully leverage the potential of the crop for the benefit of farmers, employment generation, and reduced dependence on imports and economy at large
* Region has the capacity to produce 1 billion dollars equivalent of Crude Oil Palm imports
OPDPA (Oil Palm Developers And Processors Association), the Nodal Agency for Oil Palm Cultivation in India lauds the message by the PM Mr. Modi for recognising the need and importance of being self-reliant in edible oil, and asking Farmers and State Governments of North East to pursue Oil Palm cultivation. His message clearly underpins the benefits of Oil Palm cultivation to the overall Atmanirbhar Bharat agenda as well as its potential to help with the growth story of the region.
The PM has recommended the State Governments of North East region to set up oil palm missions in their respective States to promote cultivation of the Oil Palm. The setting up of these missions will help boost the ecosystem as well increase focus for the adoption of the crop. Oil Palm cultivation in North East Regions can tremendously boost the economy of the region leading to large scale development and progress of the region.
Commenting on the progressive step taken by the Government, Mr. Sanjay Goenka, President of OPDPA said, “The expanse of Oil Palm cultivation in the country is very negligible today as compared to the potential the crop possesses. We have seen the transformation this crop has brought about in the lives of farmer community in Andhra Pradesh and we hope to emulate the same in the Northeastern States as well. A strong and robust long term policy mechanism needs to be introduced to give this crop the required push across India. Given the Honorable Prime Minister’s Atmanirbharta vision, India can truly achieve its goal of self-sufficiency in Edible Oils by pushing for development in the Oil Palm Plantation sector
In North East, the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam have tremendous scope for undertaking and increasing area under Oil Palm. The Agro-Climatic conditions of the region are extremely suitable for Oil Palm cultivation and therefore, the region has the potential to cover over 2,00,000 Acres. Equivalent to 1 billion dollars of imports can be prevented.
Members of the OPDPA, Including 3F Oil Palm, have already set up base and are working closely with the state governments of NE to create awareness on the benefits of the crop. 3F Oil Palm, a pioneer in Oil Palm cultivation in the country, currently operates in Arunachal Pradesh and has already covered over 5000acres of Area under Oil Palm in the Lower Debang Valley District of Arunachal Pradesh. Plans are in the pipeline to set up a state of the art Processing facility with a captive power plant.
Oil Palm crop is a highly remunerative crop that has the potential to provide the highest return on investment per acre compared to other commercial crops. Farmers in Andhra Pradesh are a living testimony to the far-reaching benefits of this crop for their livelihoods and future.
India is heavily dependent on imported edible oils, With nearly 15 million tonnes (or nearly 68 per cent) of edible oils getting imported to meet the country’s annual requirement of about 22 million tonnes. Of the total 15 million tonnes of import, about 9 million tonnes (or nearly 60 percent) is palm oils.
“The industry is in need of several reforms to maintain its viability and attract further investments in various states of India. OPDPA has been aggressively pursuing the agenda with the Government to bring in structural policy changes which will greatly propel the industry to new growth levels. With the policy changes proposed by us, we can truly achieve our Hon. PMs vision of Atmanirbharta in Edible Oils”, Mr. Sanjay Goenka added further.
Some of the key asks by the association are:
Stable pricing mechanism to be put in place for protecting the Indian Oil Palm farmer from fluctuations in price of the produce and continue to motivate him to grow the crop. A fixed MSP mechanism as suggested by the draft CACP report of 2018, will go a long way in this regard.
A special package for the northeast will quickly help the country in bringing large areas under oil palm plantation (Including making available unutilized government land to Oil Palm companies for captive Oil Palm plantation).
The Oil Palm Developers and Processors Association (OPDPA) is a consortium of companies that include 3F Oil Palm Pvt. Ltd., Godrej Agrovet Ltd. Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd. etc, established to work towards the growth of the Oil Palm Industry. Despite a challenging policy and regulatory environment, over the last 2 decades the industry has grown from a ‘0’ hectares in oil palm then to a respectable 200,000 hectares across several states including the North East. The industry has a huge potential to help India bridge the country’s edible oil deficit, generate several thousand jobs and help in nation building.