Imphal: Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh attended the inaugural function of 1-day National Workshop on Promotion of Oil Palm, in Manipur on Tuesday in Imphal East.
The workshop was organised by Department of Agriculture, Government of Manipur, under CSS of National Mission on Edible Oils and Oil Palm (NMEO-OP).
Speaking on the occasion, CM Biren Singh stated that there had been apprehension in the public about degradation of soil, forest and nothing could be planted on the soil once oil palm plantation had been taken up.
The chief minister said the workshop had been organised to discuss and make people aware of the scientifically proven facts that no harm had been caused by oil palm plantation. He continued that other crops like pineapple, coffee, etc., could also be grown successfully within the premise of oil palm plantation areas.
Mentioning India as the largest importer of edible oil in the world, the CM appreciated the talents and efforts of Oil Palm Manipur team and officials of Agriculture Department for being able to produce saplings of oil palm in a short span of time. He spoke about the necessity for everyone to contribute towards making our nation self sustainable and enhance its economic growth.
Singh said the Oil Palm Project was virtually inaugurated in Manipur on November 12, 2020, and potential areas of 66,652 hectares were identified in six districts and plantation started. However, there had been a delay in expansion of projects due to apprehensions in the minds of people about the adverse effect of oil palm plantation, he added.
The CM appealed to experts and scientists taking part in the workshop to clear the apprehensions of the people by giving a positive message.
During the inaugural programme, short video films on past, present and future of Oil Palm Project Manipur and successful stories of oil palm farmers of Arunachal Pradesh were shown.
Minister Th Biswajit Singh, additional chief secretary (Health) and also ex-officio, chairman of (SLSC), Oil Palm, Manipur, V Vumlunmang; commissioner (Agriculture) M Joy Singh; director, ICAR- Indian institute of Oil Palm Research, Pedavegi, Andhra Pradesh Dr RK Mathur; deputy commissioner (Oil Palm), Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India BK Srivastava; Director, Department of Agriculture, Manipur N Gojendro; representatives from Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland, and scientists, experts and other officials attended the programme.
It may be mentioned that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while delivering an address during the virtual foundation stone-laying ceremony of Manipur water supply project on July 23, 2020, had appealed to the farmers in northeastern states to take up oil palm cultivation with an aim to make India self-sufficient in edible oils. He also recommended the state governments of north eastern region to set up oil palm missions in the respective states.
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