Godrej to enter oil palm farming in Guj

Ahmedabad, July 30 | Updated: Jul 31 2006, 05:30am hrs
After making inroads through retail malls in rural areas of Gujarat, Godrej Agrovet Ltd, a group company of FMCG giant Godrej, is planning to grow oil palms in Gujarat in a big way. The company at present is looking at southern Gujarat for oil palm plantations. In addition, the company will also set up a processing mill.

Speaking to FE, RS Vijan, execuive vice-president (agri inputs and oil palm business), said, We are planning to bring close to 10,000 hectares of land under oil palm cultivation and currently a team from company is in the process of identifying land in South Gujarat. The company has already got approval from the state government for growing oil palm in Gujarat under contract farming system. He further revealed that the company has identified three districts in South Gujarat namely Valsad, Navsari and Surat, where there is vast land having potential for the plantations.

Disclosing that the company is already engaged in cultivating oil plants in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, Vijan said, Godrej Agrovet now is all set to foray in Mizoram, where it will bring more than 5,000 ha land under cultivation.

Further to make the processing of oil palms easier, the company is also in the process of setting up oil palm processing mill in the state, for which the company plans to invest close to Rs 10 crore.

Talking about the investment for oil palm cultivation in the state, Vijan said, Keeping the long term view in mind, the company will invest Rs 80 to 100 crore over the next ten years.

Elaborating on the need to cultivate oil palms, he said, We import 4 to 5 million tonne palm oil ever year from Malaysia, while the domestic demand for edible oil is 12 to 13 million tonne. Given the situation there is tremendous growth opportunity in this business. The company sources oil palm saplings from Malaysia and develop them in nursery. After that it is supplied to farmers for cultivation.