The government is aiming at reducing import dependence on palm oil by 25 to 30% through the production of 2.8 million tonne (MT) of oil by 2030 under the National Edible Oil Mission.
Currently, around 0.35 million hectare (MH) is under palm plantation. Under the mission launched last year, an additional area of 0.65 MH will be brought into palm plantations by 2025-26.
India imports 56% of its edible oil requirement annually. The country imports around 8 MT of palm oil while the domestic production is around 0.5 MT.
“Through bringing in more area under palm plantation in the next three years, especially in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Assam, Tripura and Mizoram, we plan to reduce our palm oil import dependence by 2030,” an official who is involved in the national oil palm mission, told FE.
In the seventh meeting of the governing council of Niti Aayog, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed achieving self-sufficiency in oilseeds, pulses and other crops.
In August 2021, the national oil palm mission was launched with an investment of Rs 11,040 crore. Out of which the Centre’s share is Rs 8,844 crore, while the rest is contributed by the state government for providing viability gap funding and financial assistance for planting material.
Godrej Agrovet, Patanjali food and 3F oil palm agrotech industries account for a major chunk of the country’s oil palm plantations.
“For the last three years, we are adding around 11,000 hectare annually for palm plantation and by 2026, we will have around 0.1 MH under oil palm mostly in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Assam, Tripura, Tamil Nadu and Odisha,” said Sougata Niyogi, CEO (oil palm) of Godrej Agrovet.
Godrej Agrovet currently produces around 0.11 MT of crude palm oil, which will be doubling its production by 2030 as it takes about 5 – 7 years for the plantation to provide fruit for the extraction of oil.
Under the palm oil mission, the Tripura government signed an agreement with Patanjali Foods Limited for palm oil plantations. Hyderabad-based 3F oil palm has planned to expand its palm plantation in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala are the major oil palm growing states, which account for 98% of the total production.
Currently, India produces about 44% of its domestic edible oil consumption requirement. Mustard (40%), soybean (24%) and groundnut (7%) are other oils that have a share in domestic production.
India’s annual imports are around 13-14 MT. Around 8 MT of palm oil is imported from Indonesia and Malaysia, while other oils, such as soya and sunflower, come from Argentina, Brazil, Ukraine and Russia.
Meanwhile, the government has been working on a plant to increase the area under sunflower production which used to be grown on 2.66 MHin 1993-94.
According to an agriculture ministry official, the average area under sunflower ranged from 2.1 MH in 1990-95 to 1.94 MH in 2005-2010. The area declined to 0.28 MH during 2017-18 and currently stagnated around 0.26 MH.