“Oil Palm will be ‘game-changer’ in helping farmers”

New Delhi [India]: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm will be a ‘game-changer’ in helping farmers and achieving Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister on Wednesday gave its approval to launch the National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm (NMEO-OP), a new centrally sponsored scheme with a special focus on the Northeast region and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. “Today’s Cabinet decision on National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm will be a game-changer when it comes to helping oil palm farmers and creating an Aatmanirbhar Bharat. The Northeast, and Andaman and Nicobar Islands will especially benefit from this,” tweeted Prime Minister Modi.
A financial outlay of Rs 11,040 crore has been made for the scheme, out of which Rs 8,844 crore is the central government share and Rs 2,196 crore is state share and this includes the viability gap funding also.
Under this scheme, it is proposed to cover an additional area of 6.5 lakh hectare (ha) for oil palm till the year 2025-26 and thereby reaching the target of 10 lakh hectares ultimately. The 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.
The government believes the scheme will immensely benefit the oil palm farmers, increase capital investment, create employment generation, shall reduce the import dependence and also increase the income of the farmers.
According to the government, there are two major focus areas of the scheme. The oil palm farmers produce Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFBs) from which oil is extracted by the industry. Presently the prices of these FFBs are linked to the international CPO prices fluctuations. For the first time, the Government of India will give price assurance to the oil palm farmers for the FFBs. This will be known as the Viability Price (VP). This will protect the farmers from the fluctuations of the international CPO prices and protect them from volatility.
This VP shall be the annual average CPO price of the last 5 years adjusted with the wholesale price index to be multiplied by 14.3 per cent. This will be fixed yearly for the oil palm year from November 1 to October 31. This assurance will inculcate confidence in the Indian oil palm farmers to go for the increased area and thereby more production of palm oil. A Formula Price (FP) will also be fixed which will be 14.3 per cent of CPO and will be fixed on a monthly basis. The viability gap funding will be the VP-FP and if the need arises, it would be paid directly to the farmers’ accounts in the form of DBT.
The government said the second major focus of the scheme is to substantially increase the assistance of inputs/interventions. A substantial increase has been made for planting material for oil palm and this has increased from Rs 12,000 per ha to Rs 29000 per ha. A further substantial increase has been made for maintenance and inter-cropping interventions. Special assistance at Rs 250 per plant is being given to replant old gardens for rejuvenation of old gardens.

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