Cabinet nod for Rs 11,040 cr mission to boost oil palm farming in next 5 years
New Delhi: The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) with a financial outlay of Rs 11,040 crore to promote domestic cultivation of oil palm in the next five years, and reduce the country’s dependence on edible oil imports. The decision comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the new Central scheme on August 15 during his Independence Day speech at Red Fort.
Briefing the media, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said the Cabinet approved the NMEO-OP with a focus on the northeast region and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands with a financial outlay of Rs 11,040 crore.
Of the total outlay, Rs 8,844 crore would be the Central government’s share while Rs 2,196 crore would be States’ share. This includes the viability gap funding also, an official statement said.
The new scheme will subsume the current National Food Security Mission-Oil Palm programme. Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the new scheme aims to cover oil palm in an additional area of 6.5 lakh hectare by 2025-26 and thereby reaching the target of 10 lakh hectares. With this, the domestic production of crude palm oil (CPO) is expected to go up to 11.20 lakh tonnes by 2025-26 and up to 28 lakh tonnes by 2029-30.
Stating that the new scheme addresses several challenges faced by farmers, the Minister said oil palm cultivation has been happening in the last few years and is being undertaken in 12 States at present. “Since oil palm cultivation takes at least 5-7 years to give yield and profits. It was not possible for small farmers to wait for this long. Even if farmers were successful in cultivation, they were unsure of getting returns due to fluctuation in prices,” he said.
At present, only 3.70 lakh hectares is under oil palm cultivation. Although there is scope for oil palm cultivation in the north-east, it was not happening in the absence of processing industry and investment, he added. Keeping this in view, Tomar said the Government has decided to give assistance under the NMEO-OP to further boost cultivation of oil palm.
For the first time, the Government will give a price assurance to the oil palm growers producing Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFBs). This will be known as the ‘viability price’, he said.
The “viability price” will be the annual average CPO price of the last five years adjusted with the wholesale price index to be multiplied by 14.3 per cent, he said, adding that this will be fixed yearly for the oil palm year (November to October).