Oil palm getting popular in coastal districts
- Crop area has doubled in 10 years
- 1.30 lakh farmers cultivate oil palm in 1.72 lakh hectares in State
- Ryots point out that the returns from the cultivation of oil palm are high when compared to other crops
Vijayawada: With high returns and growing demand for the palm oil in the domestic and international market, oil palm cultivated area doubled in coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh during the last 10 years.
More than 1.3 lakh farmers are cultivating oil palm and it became one of the important crops in coastal districts particularly the East and West Godavari.
The crop area was 83,553 hectares in 2008-9 and it increased to 1,41,948 hectares by 2014-15. By, 2018-19, the crop area increased to 1,65,899 hectares. It further increased to 1.72 lakh hectares by 2019-20. Oil palm cultivation is gradually increasing with the assured returns on the crop. India is one of the biggest consumers of palm oil and has been importing it from other countries like Malaysia and Thailand.
West Godavari district is the largest producer of palm oil with cultivated area of 93,992 hectares followed by East Godavari with 32,983 hectares. Krishna district has cultivated area of 19,094 hectares followed by Vizianagaram district with 12,597 hectares. Visakhapatnam district has 8,223 hectares, Srikakulam 3,806 and Nellore 871 hectares.
Farmers after cultivating Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFBs), sell their produce to local companies. The Central government gives assistance for four years. Joint Director of Horticulture P Hanumantha Rao said the cultivation expenses are very less for oil palm compared to other oil seeds crops.
He said 1.30 lakh farmers are cultivating oil palm crop in 1.72 lakh hectares in the State. Mullapudi Muralikrishna, an oil palm farmer of Kalavalapudi village of Chagallu mandal of West Godavari district owns 16 hectares land and has been cultivating oil palm for more than 20 years.
He said the farmers can benefit if the price is more than Rs 10,000 per tonne. He said the cultivation expenses are about Rs 70,000 per hectare. Average yield per hectare is 25 tonnes of Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFBs). Murali Krishna said oil palm is getting more popular due to the demand for the palm oil in the country and factories will collect the oil palm from the farmers.
Another farmer P Subbareddy of Pedavegi mandal in West Godavari district said he was happy with the cultivation of oil palm because there is demand for the produce, Fresh Fruit Bunches. He said oil palm is a perennial crop that starts yielding from the fourth year of planting and added that returns from the crop is high compared to other oil seeds.
Joint Director Hanumantha Rao said palm leaf can be used as fodder, an ingredient for organic fertilisers, as firewood and the palm oil is rich in vitamin A and Vitamin E.