NMEO-OP should help resolve India’s heavy dependence on edible oil imports
MUMBAI, Aug 9 (The CONNECT) - The Oil Palm Developers and Processors Association (OPDPA), the nodal agency for Oil Palm Cultivation in India welcomed the announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking up oil palm plantations aggressively in India to make India self-sufficient in edible oils.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a new national initiative on palm oil production on Monday to help increase oil palm production in the country, thereby helping curtail imports and simultaneously increasing farmer income. The scheme, National Edible Oil Mission-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) involves an investment of over Rs 11,000 crore towards Palm Oil development.
The Government clearly places its emphasis on the Make-in-India and Atmanirbhar Bharat agenda which will make India self-sufficient in edible oils, OPDPA said.
The Prime Minister NMEO-OP as a pledge for achieving self-reliance in edible oil. “Today, when the country is remembering the Quit India Movement, on this historic day, this resolve fills us with new energy,” he said.
Releasing the next installment of financial benefit under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) today through video conference, Modi said that through the National Edible Oil Mission-Oil Palm mission, more than Rs 11,000 crore will be invested in the cooking oil ecosystem. Government will ensure that farmers get all the facilities, from quality seeds to technology. The Prime Minister pointed out that for the first time, India has ranked among the top-10 countries of the world in terms of agricultural exports. The country has set new records of agricultural exports during the Corona period. Today, when India is becoming recognized as a big agricultural exporting country, it is not right to stay dependent on imports for our needs of edible oil.
The OPDPA said it has been requesting for a significant policy change to push local oil palm cultivation and thanks to the PMs vision, this has been accommodated.
The scheme, according to sources, is expected to incentivise the production of palm oil to reduce dependence on imports and help farmers cash in on the huge market availability for oil palm. The Centre plans 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 on India's north-eastern states and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands due to the conducive weather conditions in the regions.
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 the farmer community in Andhra Pradesh and we hope to emulate the same in the other potential states as well. A strong and robust, long-term policy mechanism will give this crop the required push across India. Given the new scheme National Edible Oil Mission-Oil Palm, India can truly achieve its goal of self-sufficiency in Edible Oils by pushing for development in the Oil Palm Plantation sector. While we await the detailed policy guidelines on this front, we appreciate the move by the Government of India and simultaneously assure our Honourable Prime Minister that all of us processors at the Oil Palm Developers and Processors Association of India will strive hard to make his dream of self-reliance in Edible Oil come true.”
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%) 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 oil and its derivatives.
“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 these policy changes and new scheme NMEO-OP, we can truly achieve our Hon. PMs vision of Atmanirbharta in Edible Oils,” Goenka added.