Telangana eyes expanding oil palm cultivation

Oil Palm cultivation may emerge as one of the key plantations to be encouraged in the State for meeting the twin objective of boosting farmers’ income and becoming self-reliant by reducing dependency on imports.

At present India imports palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia. While its total annual edible oil import costs ₹75,000 crore, palm oil alone accounts for ₹58,800 crore.

Under the proposed regulated crop cultivation policy to raise such crops with good demand in the market and make agriculture and horticulture profitable to farmers, Telangana State is seriously considering to expand oil palm production from the present 48,000 acres to 6.9 lakh acres. The State already has government subsidies and policies in place. Official sources said that in principle approval has been accorded for oil palm cultivation in one lakh acres in the first phase.

The current production of oil palm in Telangana is 32,000 tonnes as against its requirement of 4.21 lakh tonnes. If the cultivation is expanded up to 6.9 lakh acres, the potential production can go up to 1.12 million tonnes (10.12 lakh tonnes) and Telangana after meeting its requirement, can cater to country’s needs, they said.

The State government has estimated that about ₹407 crore is required to provide State’s subsidy and to meet 100% cost of farmer’s share for the first four years as the crop has long gestation period of four years when Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB) will be ready for harvesting at farmer’s field.

It selected 25 districts across the State and of which four districts - Nalgonda, Suryapet, Khamma and Bhadradri are already cultivating oil palm.

Sources said that a report was submitted to the government that oil palm gave the highest yield up to 2.02 tonnes of oil per acre compared to other oil seeds and it is eco-friendly crop, annually generating 7.28 tonnes of oxygen per acre as against 2.83 tonnes by an acre of forest and less vulnerable to pests and diseases unlike other oil crops.

“ It gives sustainable income to farmers up to 25 years, anywhere between ₹58,000 to ₹81,000 an acre a year after four years (growth phase) and much more thereafter. It also gives assured monthly income through buy-back arrangement, creates massive rural employment directly and indirectly, through ancillary industries. The by-products from processing of FFBs can be utilised in various ways,” they said.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 4:39:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/telangana-eyes-expanding/article31761138.ece

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