HYDERABAD: The State government has approached the Centre for establishing an oil palm research centre in Telangana to serve as a centre of excellence for conducting and coordinating research on all aspects of oil palm, including cultivation, production, protection, post-harvest technology and transfer of technology, among other things, said Agriculture Minister Singireddy Niranjan Reddy on Monday. The plan to increase the area of cultivation for oil palm was also sent to Centre, he added.
In a response to a query posed by TRS MLAs Balka Suman, Sandra Venkata Veeraiah and others during the Question Hour, Niranjan Reddy said the State intends to cover eight lakh hectares (20 lakh acres) against the Centre-approved area of 4.36 lakh hectares (10.90 lakh acres) under oil palm in mission mode as part of crop diversification.
The cultivation of oil palm has already been taken up across 1.18 lakh acres of land this year, he informed, adding that companies have placed indents for importing 3.25 crore seeds sprouts. So far, 76.71 lakh seeds sprouts have been received, which is sufficient to cover 1.18 lakh acres, he said.
Factory zones allotted
The Minister informed that the State government has allotted factory zones to 11 companies for taking up oil palm expansion in 26 districts. As per the Memorandum of Association, the allotted company should establish nurseries for raising oil palm seedlings for supply to farmers in their allotted factory zones. So far, 28 nurseries have been established by companies across the State with a capacity to raise 2.25 crore seedlings per year, he mentioned.
He said the Centre’s contribution for taking up drip irrigation stood at Rs 6,000 per acre while the State is contributing over Rs 14,000 per acre. He said the State government has instructed the power distribution companies for free supply of power to this sector. Financial assistance will be provided to farmers every year, upto a maximum of four years, till the crop is harvested, he added.