The Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared a scheme to reduce its import dependence on edible oils, especially palm oil and boost its production in the country. Titled the “National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm”, the scheme got the approval just days after it was announced by Mr Narendra Modi during the Independence Day speech.
The mission will have a financial outlay of Rs 11,040 crore and will look to improve domestic cultivation of palm oil in the next five years, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told media persons during a press conference.
The aim of the scheme is to raise the area of cultivation for palm oil to 10 lakh hectares by 2025-26 and up to 16.7 lakh hectares by 2029-2030.
Due to the heavy dependence on imports for edible oils, it is important to make efforts for increasing the domestic production of edible oils in which increasing area and productivity of oil palm plays an important part, an official statement said.
Owing to favourable weather conditions, the main focus of the palm oil mission will on the north-eastern states as well as on Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
This will involve raising the area under oil palm cultivation to 10 lakh hectares by 2025-26 and 16.7 lakh hectares by 2029-30. The special emphasis of the scheme will be in India’s north-eastern states and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands due to the conducive weather conditions in the regions.
Under the scheme, palm oil farmers will be provided financial assistance and get remuneration in the form of a viability gap funding formula, where the industry will be mandated to pay them 14.3 per cent of the palm oil price which will eventually go up to 15.3 per cent.
There is a sunset clause for the scheme till November 1, 2037.
To address the issue of shortage of planting material in the country, seed gardens will be provided assistance of up to Rs 80 lakhs for 15 hectares of area for other parts of the country, while for the north-eastern region and Andaman and Nicobar Islands the assistance will be Rs 100 lakhs for 15 hectares of area.