NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved a new Centrally sponsored scheme to promote palm plantation which aims to cut down on the import of palm oil, with focus on Northeastern states and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who chaired the meeting, termed it a game-changer, saying it will give a boost to Atmanirbhar Bharat.
Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar told reporters during a briefing that the cultivation of palm in the country would be scaled up three times. He said there’s an availability of 28 lakh hectares, almost one-third in the Northeast, which could be utilised for the palm oil programme. Tomar said no forest land will be diverted for this purpose.
Tomar also stated the government will be coming out with a Minimum Support Price (MSP) kind of a mechanism to give assurance to the farmers that their produces will be procured. He also stated the government will support the MSP mechanism by direct benefit transfer to the farmers the difference of the MSP and market price.
The scheme entails a financial outlay of `11,040 crore out of which `8,844 crore is the share of the Central government, with the sharing formula with Northeastern states being 90:10 and 60:40 for the rest of the country. The scheme will be called “National Mission on Edible Oils-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP)”.
Tomar argued the government is promoting palm oil within the country because of the higher per hectare yield in comparison to other oil seeds, including mustard, groundnut and soybean.
The scheme aims to cover an additional area of 6.5 lakh hectares for oil palm till 2025-26 and reach the target of 10 lakh hectares later. The production of crude palm oil is expected to go substantially, up to 11.20 lakh tonnes by 2025-26 and 28 lakh tonnes by 2029-30.
Kigali Amendment to be ratified
The Cabinet in a meeting on Wednesday chaired by PM Narendra Modi gave its nod for ratifying the ‘Kigali Amendment’ to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer for phasedown of Hydro-flurocarbons. The amendment was adopted by parties to the Montreal Protocol in 2016.