VIJAYAWADA: To encourage the cultivation of oil palm, the Andhra Pradesh government has increased the subsidies for the components and inputs for oil palm cultivation from February 2022.
The State stands first in the country in oil palm cultivation with an area of 1.81 lakh hectares, cultivated by 1.32 lakh farmers in eight districts.
The average productivity of oil palm plantations is 19.81 tonnes FFB (fresh fruit bunches) per hectare. In 2020-21, the state produced 2.40 lakh tonnes of crude palm oil. There are 13 oil palm processing units in the State with a crushing capacity of 461 metric tonnes of FFBs per hour.
According to minister for agriculture Kurasala Kanna Babu, in order to encourage oil palm on a large scale, a new Centrally sponsored National Mission on Edible Oils-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) scheme has been launched.
Under the oil palm mission, an area of 1.12 lakh hectares is proposed to be covered in the State. The year-wise targets proposed under NMEO-OP for the State from 2021-22 to 2024-25 are — 15,000 hectares in 2021-22, 20,000 hectares in 2022-23, 24,000 hectares in 2024-25 and 28,000 hectares in 2025-26 .
The revised subsidy for plant material will be Rs 20,000 per hectare in case of indigenous plants and Rs 29,000 in case of imported plants. At present, Rs 12,000 per hectare is being paid. For maintenance Rs 21,000 will be provided as subsidy per hectare in place of the present Rs 20,000 per hectare.
A similar amount of subsidy will be provided for inter-cropping. In case of subsidy for machinery and tools, it will be Rs 2,500 for manual high reach oil palm cutter instead of the present Rs 1,500 per hectare.
For farmers’ training, Rs 30,000 will be provided instead of Rs 24,000 and Rs 40,000 instead of Rs 36,000 for training of extension workers, officers and input dealers.
The minister said Rs 30.60 crore was spent for oil palm development programme in 2021 and 8,801 hectares was brought under oil palm cultivation. In 2021-22, Rs 81.45 lakh was allocated and against the planned target of 15,000 hectares,10,561 hectares have been brought under oil palm and another 14,567 hectares have been identified for oil palm cultivation.