MANDYA: Despite severe droughts for the past three years, oil palm cultivators in the district have started planting as they are hopeful of a good monsoon this year.
A total of 267 farmers in seven taluks have taken up the oil palm cultivation in about 270 hectares in Mandya. It has been reported that 86 farmers who planted in 103 hectares got a good yield of 550 metric tonnes in 2013-14. The rest of the area where the oil palm is grown is still in the initial stage.
The Central government has proposed to spend `3,507 crore during the 12th Five Year Plan to boost oil seeds output and bring additional area of 1.25 lakh hectares under oil palm.
Under the Rastriya Krishi Vigyan Yojana (RKVY), the government has allocated `22.28 crore to the state for Oil Palm Area Expansion (OPAE). The government has signed a memorandum of understanding with five companies - Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd, Godrej Agrovet, Badhravathi Balaji Oil Mills, Simhapuri Agro Industries Ltd and 3F Oils Ltd regarding the implementation of the oil palm cultivation.
Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd AGM (Plantation) S Janardhanan told Express that the farmers can get an average yield of 25 MT/Ha by applying the recommended dosage of fertilisers and regularly irrigating the crop.
He said a farmer at Hebbani village has 13.95 hectares of oil palm and he got a yield of 272 MT last year with an average yield of 19.50 MT/Ha. His yield is expected to increase to 25 MT/Ha this year. The farmer has become an inspiration and model for other farmers, he added.
In 2013-14, 85 hectares of oil palm was planted in the district and in 2014-15, the plantation has been increased to 125 hectares by the Horticulture Department in co-operation with Ruchi Soya Industries.
Assistant Director (Horticulture) M Shantha told Expres: “With proper maintenance a minimum yield of 25 MT/Ha can be achieved and a minimum profit of `1 lakh to `1.25 lakh per hectare can be earned.”