Guwahati: The National Mission on Edible Oil- Oil Palm, with a total outlay of Rs 11,040 crore, will bring 6.5 lakh hectares under oil palm plantation. This includes 3.28 lakh hectares in the northeastern states and 3.22 in the rest of the country in the next five years, Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar said here on Tuesday.

Addressing as chief guest at the Business summit on National Mission on Edible Oil- Oil Palm, Tomar asserted that the Centre’s decision for making major interventions in Northeastern states for oil palm promotion will turn the region into an oil palm hub of the country.

Tomar emphasised playing an equal role in the development of the crop and assured to make major investments for seed nurseries, drip irrigation, technical back up, setting up mills, purchase centres and training of farmers.

“Special packages and assistance for the Northeast will change the socio-economic status of the farmers and will open employment opportunities in the established oil palm mills along with infrastructure development,” he said.

The Union Minister also informed that the business summit aims to explore area expansion, seedling requirements fixed for different states through processors, details of viability gap payment, interventions and assistance under the mission.
Tomar thanked the Assam government for providing logistical support and mentioned that the new scheme would pave the way towards self-sufficiency in edible oils.

He stated that the government is committed to protecting the oil palm farmers through price assurance and was happy to see the turnout for the summit. He expressed happiness with the format and mentioned that this type of exchange helps to speed up the implementation.

Tomar assured that under the Mission Oil Palm farmers would be given assured prices and all assistance.

Addressing the summit Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DONER), G Kishan Reddy appreciated the vision of the Union government for coming up with the very well planned edible palm oil scheme.

Reddy apprised that the Union government is committed to the oil palm sector and requested investors and industrialists to invest in the Northeast, which has immense potential for the agricultural sector, especially palm oil.

Speaking on the occasion, secretary Agriculture Sanjay Agarwal, Secretary DARE Dr Trilochan Mohapatra explained in detail the role of R&D for the mission’s success.

In his speech, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu said that it was time for investors to come and invest in the Northeast in a big way to develop the agriculture sector, taking advantage of fertile lands and climate. Palm oil holds special significance as its cultivation can open up untapped avenues of earning for farmers here, he said.

Assam Agriculture Minister Atul Bora informed that presently farmers in two districts Goalpara and Kamrup – are engaged in oil palm cultivation while there is a plan of bringing 1,500 hectares of lands in another 17 districts under palm oil cultivation.

Union MoS for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Kailash Choudhary and Sushri Sobha Karandlaje, Union MoS for DoNER BL Verma also graced the occasion.

Sikkim Agriculture Minister Loknath Sharma, Assam Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar, Principal Secretaries of Shubha Thakur, Union Joint Secretary and other officials of the state governments, officers from the Ministry of Agriculture, NITI Ayog, ICAR institutions, MEA, Vice-Chancellors, officers from SBI and Indian Tea Association (ITA), leading processors from oil palm industry, progressive farmers and potential investors from the agri-business trade were present in the summit.

Certificates for FPOs formed by NABARD were distributed, and an MOU was signed with ABPRL to establish the first-of-its-kind biorefinery in India to produce renewable green fuel bioethanol. In the summit, books titled “Glimpses of NMEO-Oil Palm in the NE States” by Oilseeds Division, DA&FW and “Improved Management Practices of the Oil Palm Cultivation in the NE States” by ICAR-IIOPR and Assessment Report were released.

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