Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Aug 9 has announced a National Edible Oil Mission-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) to boost domestic oilseed production and make the country self-sufficient in cooking oils. Addressing a virtual event on the PM-Kisan scheme, Modi said over ₹11,000 crores will be invested in the edible oil ecosystem. India is the world’s biggest vegetable oil importer.
The prime minister also transferred over ₹19,500 crores to over 9.75 crore farmers under the government’s flagship PM-Kisan scheme, reported Mint.
The Centre plans to raise the domestic production of palm oil by three times to 11 lakh MT by 2025-26. 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.
Palm oil is currently the world’s most consumed vegetable oil. The top consumers of the commodity are India, China, and the European Union (EU). Palm oil is used extensively in the production of detergents, plastics, cosmetics, and biofuels.
“Today, when India is being recognized as a major agricultural exporting country, then it is not appropriate for us to depend on imports for our edible oil needs,” said Mr. Modi, noting that the share of imported palm oil is more than 55%. “We have to change this situation. The thousands of crores that we have to give to others abroad to buy edible oil should be given to the farmers of the country only,” he added, naming north-eastern India and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as prime locations for oil palm cultivation.
India produces less than half of the roughly 2.4 crore tonnes of edible oil that it consumes annually. It imports the rest, buying palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia, soyoil from Brazil and Argentina, and sunflower oil, mainly from Russia and Ukraine. The country does export agricultural commodities such as sugar and rice on the world market, but domestic oilseed production is nearly six times lower than rice and wheat on average.
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