Telangana is keen on bringing more area under oilseed crops as that would help avoid the problem of plenty the State faced with a massive paddy output as well as lay ground for investments in edible oil refining and food processing sector, Industries and IT Minister K.T.Rama Rao said.
“We are asking farmers to move away from paddy... production was so much that government of India said it cannot procure any more. Over the next five years, 20 lakh acres under paddy in Telangana will systematically be moved away to oil palms,” the Minister told the Indian Vegetable Oil Producers Association (IVPA) Global Roundtable 2022 here on Friday.
Paddy production in Telangana had increased from 6.8 million tonne in 2014 to 25.9 MT this year, he said, pointing to how new irrigation projects of the State government brought an additional 40 lakh acres under cultivation.
A shift, away from paddy, to oil palm, soya bean, groundnut and sunflower will also enhance raw material availability, for edible oil production, without deforestation, something that a few countries are accused of, he said, inviting the industry and company leaders to consider investing in Telangana. More oilseed production would translate into lesser foreign exchange outgo for a country like India that imported 60% of its edible oil requirements, he added.
Highlighting Telangana government’s policy initiatives to improve the ease of doing business levels, especially the TS-iPASS system of time bound clearances for new projects, Mr.Rao said the State has initiated the setting of Special Food Processing Zones on 10,000 acres, which is also bound to be of interest to the investors.
Agriculture Minister S.Niranjan Reddy said after the Centre permitted oil palm cultivation in 25 of the 33 districts, the State has approved 11 companies to set up 25 oil crushing and refining units. While the target is to bring 1.75 lakh acres under oilseed this year, plantation on 40,000 acres could be finished as excessive rainfall came in the way. He was hopeful of more area being brought under the plantation on the back of the State’s pro farmer policies.
IVPA president Sudhakar Desai said the global food crisis triggered by the pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia war have thrown multiple challenges at the edible oil sector ranging from sourcing to managing demand and supply, production and other market dynamics. It has once again turned the spotlight on the need to become self-sufficient in edible oils. The two-day roundtable, on Veg Oil and Oilseed Sector, is aimed at evolving solutions to challenges, forging partnerships and developing a road map to make India self-sufficient in edible oils.