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Arunachal: Awareness cum training on Oil Palm held in Pasighat

No forests land need to be destroyed to grow Oil Palm as usually misconceptualized: Director ICAR

PASIGHAT ( By Maksam Tayeng )-  In a bid to boost the cultivation of Oil Palm here in the state, the Department of Agriculture and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)-Indian Institute of Oil Palm Research, Pedavegi, Andhra Pradesh organized a one-day awareness cum training programme for Oil Palm growers of East Siang district today at College of Horticulture & Forestry auditorium.

The awareness cum training programme was led by Anong Lego, Director, Deptt. of Agriculture, Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh and was attended by Dr R.K. Mathur, Director, ICAR-IIOPR, Dr M.V. Prasad, Principal Scientist, ICAR-IIOPR, Dr B.N. Hazarika, Dean, CHF, Pasighat, Ninong Ering, MLA 37th Pasighat West, T.D. Neckom, Dy. Director cum State Nodal Officer (Oil Palm), Ajit Pao, District Agriculture Officer, East Siang District, Taboh Darang, ADO (Hq. Pasighat) cum District Nodal Officer for Oil Palm programme and several farmers of the district led by Lining Pertin and Kingkman Komut, President and General Secretary respectively from East Siang Oil Palm Farmers Association.

While, Dr Mathur and Dr Prasad from ICAR-IIOPR spoke on the urgent need to speed up the growing of Oil Palm in Arunachal Pradesh, as the state has huge potential for Oil Palm cultivation which can be grown in agricultural areas by replacing the less yielding and less economically viable crops. “For the cultivation of the oil palm, no forest lands need to be destroyed as misconceptualized by many others.

The grassland, furrow land, wasteland and jhum cultivation area can be converted into oil palm cultivation which would give many benefits to the farmers in comparison to other cash crops grown by farmers”, added Dr. Mathur and Dr. Prasad.

The duo also cleared the farmers about the misconception and rumour of Oil Palm doing harm to the state in the likes of Indonesia and Malaysia where oil palm cultivation is said to have damaged several forested lands by affecting wildlife too. They said that the Oil Palm cultivation can be done in the usual Jhum cultivation areas, grass/bush and wasteland areas without damaging the forests lands.

“As hailing from places like Rajasthan and other areas where forest coverage are less, we know the value of forests and so forested land needn’t to be damaged for the cultivation of Oil Palm. Moreover, the growing of Oil Palm in the Jhum cultivation areas and other non-forested areas would also increase greenery while giving good economical returns to the farmers”, added Dr. Mathur.

Anong Lego, Director, Deptt. of Agriculture also advised the farmers to take the benefits and assistance meant for the Oil Palm growers provided by the Government of India and Government of Arunachal Pradesh as there has no dirt of funds for the Oil Palm cultivation.

Ninong Ering, MLA also suggested the farmers of East Siang district to opt for the cultivation of Oil Palm which could become a good source of income for many farmers. Dr. BN Hazarika, Dean, CHF Pasighat also spoke on the success of Oil Palm cultivation in Pasighat after cultivating and introducing Oil Palm on the trial mode in the CHF campus starting from the year 2006, as the yielding capacity of Oil Palm in the campus was much high.

During the programme, 5 Oil Palm farmers were distributed with tools for oil palm cultivation and 80 other farmers will be distributed with the same tools after the programme. In the state total of 400 farmers will receive the same tools which would be helpful to the farmers in cultivating oil palm, informed deptt. of Agriculture officials.

While farmers’ questionnaires were also cleared by the Agri. and ICAR officials.

Arunachal Pradesh has signed a memorandum of understanding with Ruchi Soya Industries to plant 25,000 hectares of oil palm in the recent past. This brings the total area earmarked for oil palm in the state to 45,000 hectares (or 450 sq. km.). Oil palm is a highly productive crop – more than any other oil crop in the world – yielding up to 6 tons of palm oil per hectare of cultivation.

Palm oil is also the cheapest vegetable oil in the world, and is used extensively for cooking and the production of consumer goods like cosmetics and soap. As such, expanding oil palm cultivation in India will be important for India’s vegetable oil security thereby reducing the country’s dependency on other countries and the huge money spent on Palm Oil imports will go to the farmers of India.

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