GUWAHATI- Chief Minister Pema Khandu today informed that the roadmap for implementation of the ambitious National Mission on Edible Oils-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) has been finalized and the state government will be implementing it on the ground soon.
Speaking at the ‘Business Summit for North Eastern States’ on the national mission at Guwahati, he said Arunachal Pradesh, geographically the largest state in North East, has about 1.33 lakh hectares of land feasible for oil palm cultivation as assessed by a central team in 2019.
“Based on the assessment, we have identified the lands, farmers and developers. We will go full swing in implementing the mission very soon,” Khandu said.
He termed the summit as a game-changing platform for North East and hailed the central government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi for focusing on sectors that will usher accelerated development in the region.
Khandu informed that Arunachal Pradesh, in fact, is not new to oil palm cultivation. He said the state has already about 4250 hectares under oil palm cultivation. The scheme implemented years ago was left unattended due to lack of handholding for farmers.
“Farmers didn’t expand their cultivation saying there were no processing factories while the private companies said without expansion of cultivation sites establishment of factories wasn’t feasible. This cost the earlier scheme. But under the new National Mission things have changed. Under it both our farmers and private investors will be in a win-win situation,” he explained.
As raised by others, Khandu also sought support from the central government on procurement of quality seeds and fertilizers on subsidized rates. He also requested for establishment of a zonal or regional level research center on oil palm in Arunachal Pradesh.
Meanwhile, countering anti-oil palm school of thoughts, Khandu urged the experts, social media influencers and journalists to ‘get the facts right’ and pass the ‘right information’ to the masses instead of propagating the ‘unfounded misinformation’ on effects of oil palm cultivation being circulated mostly through social media.
Hosted by the Assam Agriculture department the summit was chaired by Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar along with Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) G. Kishan Reddy.
It was attended by Minister of State (MoS) for DoNER, BL Verma; Minister of State (MoS) for Agriculture, Shobha Karandlaje; Minister of State (MoS) for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Kailash Choudhary, Agriculture Ministers from NE states and other dignitaries.
The summit stressed on growth of agriculture in the North East with special emphasis on the sectors like oil palm, bamboo development, and many others.
During the event, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also signed for Bamboo FPO Agreement.
Besides, certificates were also distributed to Farmers Producers Organizations (FPOs), an initiative to encourage the farmers for the push of Palm Oil cultivation.
A total of 28 lakh hectares of land is said to be available across the nation for palm oil cultivation. Out of these, 9.62 lakh hectares is available in the Northeast alone.
The National Edible Oil Mission-Oil Palms is worth Rs.11 thousand crores.