Telangana To Double Oil Palm Cultivation

Hyderabad: Telangana has doubled its efforts to cultivate oil palm in an ambitious 30 lakh acres over the next five years i.e. by 2025-26 as against the national target of 70 lakh acres. Owing to scope and advantages of oil palm crop, the State government is planning to promote the crop cultivation on a mission mode as part of crop diversification.

Palm oil consumption in Telangana is pegged at around 3.66 lakh tonnes against production of only 45,000 tonnes. To fill the gap, oil palm crop cultivation should be taken up in at least 2.5 lakh acres. Currently, around 54,000 acres are already under oil palm cultivation in the State with about 7,660 acres brought under cultivation during the current fiscal against 20,015 acres allocated by the Centre. The balance is expected to be covered by the end of March. The State government has approved an action plan to be implemented at a cost of Rs 60.27 crore, a Horticulture department official told Telangana Today.

Besides being one of the most remunerative crops, oil palm is considered one of the best alternatives to reduce the excess paddy cultivation in the State. As the gestation period of oil palm is 4 years, the farmers can take up cultivation of inter-crops like cotton, red gram, groundnut, vegetables, beans, black gram, green gram and others throughout the year. Further, the State Cabinet has already cleared a proposal in July this year to provide Rs 26,000 per acre as subsidy to oil palm farmers in the first year, Rs 5,000 per acre each in second and third years.

The measures taken by the State government including subsidy for oil palm cultivation will make it more remunerative than paddy and other crops. “Considering the huge gap between demand and supply in the country, it has huge potential,” a top official in the Horticulture department told Telangana Today.

The edible oil production in India stands at 8.97 MMT (million metric tonnes) in 2021 against consumption of 23.46 MMT. The deficit of 14.49 MMT of edible oil is being met through imports where palm oil accounts for around 58 per cent of total imports i.e. 8.45 MMT.

As against the target of 3 lakh acres set by the union government for Telangana over next five years, the State government has commenced efforts to take up the oil palm cultivation in about 12.35 lakh acres in 2022-23 alone. The State government successfully took up the oil palm cultivation on pilot basis in seven districts including Mahabubnagar, Nagarkurnool, Narayanapet, Jogulamba Gadwal, Wanaparthy, Mahabubabad and Mancherial districts. Around 1,860 acres were covered under this project during the year 2019-20 where the first harvest is expected in 2022-23.

The authorities have already allocated company-wise targets where 11 companies working under the aegis of Telangana State Co-operative Oilseeds Growers Federation Ltd (TS Oilfed) across 26 districts, were given the annual target of 5 lakh acres for 2022-23. Orders have been placed for 3.24 crore seed sprouts for establishing 23 nurseries in around 1,045 acres across 20 districts. So far, 54 lakh seed sprouts have been imported which is adequate to cover 83,000 acres and the remaining stocks are expected shortly.

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