The government is on a mission to promote palm oil production, brushing aside environmental and health concerns. Is self-sufficiency its only motive?
Last week, the Indian cabinet cleared the National Mission on Edible Oils-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP), with a financial outlay of Rs 11,040 crore over the next five years, to promote domestic cultivation of oil palm and increase the production of palm oil. The move comes as the government is trying to reduce the country’s import bill, at a time when crude palm oil prices are hovering around historical highs.
The proposal is to increase the land under oil palm plantations to 1 million hectares by March 2026, from 370,000 hectares at present, with a special focus on the Andaman and Nicobar islands and the seven states in the North-East, due to their favourable rainfall and temperature. Accordingly, crude palm oil (CPO) production is expected to go up to 1.12 million tonnes (mt) by fiscal year 2026 from 300,000 tonnes currently and up to 2.8 mt by fiscal year 2030.
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