AP top oil palm producer in country

AP top oil palm producer in country

1.23 lakh hectare under oil palm cultivation in StateA H Venkatesh Hyderabad: The AP State has become the largest oil palm producer with 1.23 lakh...

1.23 lakh hectare under oil palm cultivation in StateA

H Venkatesh

Hyderabad: The AP State has become the largest oil palm producer with 1.23 lakh hectare of land being used for oil palm cultivation out of the total 1.66 lakh hectare in the entire country. Thanks to the State's initiative towards oil palm produce and the farmers making optimal use of land, technology and better cultivation practices.

According to sources, imports of oil palm from key market players like � Malaysia, Nigeria, Indonesia, Argentina and Brazil, have come down, though there was a surge in domestic demand for edible oil. Import of vegetable oil increased by about 16 per cent, with 10.36 lakh tonne during October, 2012, against 8.94 lakh tonne for the corresponding 2011. While oil palm import from Malaysia dropped 46 per cent to 46,202 tonne due to an increase in the oil palm produce at national level.

In the backdrop of rapeseed crop availability now put at 22 per cent there will be an increase in the oil production at national level. In 2012 the rapeseed crop production was put at 7.11 million ton (MT) against 5.8 MT during 2011. The total consumption of the edible (cooking) oil at national level was estimated at about 1.70 lakh tonne and only 65,000 tonne of oil palm was produced within country, while the rest 1.05 lakh tonne was being imported, sources said.

To cut down the expenditure on import of oil palm, the Centre has come out with an ambitious expansion plan to increase oil palm production. There is a concerted effort to focus on bringing the oil palm cultivation under the purview of oil mills for smoother viability of technical and economic operations.

According to official sources a total of 1.66 lakh hectare of land was being cultivated in India, while Andhra Pradesh occupied a major share by 1.23 lakh hectare of cultivation, followed by Karnataka with 7,000 hectare and Tamil Nadu with 3,000 hectare.

Of the 1.23 lakh hectare oil palm cultivation in the AP State, West Godavari district stands first with the cultivation in 58,000 hectare, followed by East Godavari, Nalgonda, Khammam, Krishna, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam, Nellore and Visakhapatnam districts, they said. Sources said the fresh fruit bunches (FFBs) of oil palm are transported 14 mills, including seven major mills in Coastal Andhra, one each in Telangana and Rayalaseema. The total output is around 244 MT of oil per hour from the 14 mills.

Many farmers in the State shifted to palm cultivation in the wake of traditional choicest crops failing to give even minimum returns and recurring losses due to power cuts, farm loans, failure to repayment etc. This shift is proving to be a profitable one, it is said.

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