KTR to farmers: Go for oil palm cultivation
Says oil palm cultivation will help in reducing import dependence for edible oils and also protect farmers from surplus paddy production
Hyderabad: IT and Industry minister KT Rama Rao said here on Friday that farmers should move away from paddy and opt for oil palm and oilseed cultivation.
Speaking at the global roundtable organised by the Indian Vegetable Oil Producers' Association, he said oil palm cultivation will help in reducing the import dependence for edible oils and also protect farmers from surplus paddy production. "Efforts are being made to convert 20 lakh acre paddy systemically towards oil palm with support and guidance of the government". Rao pointed out after the State formation, the area under cultivation more than doubled in just seven years. Paddy production touched 25.9 million metric tonnes (MT) from 6.8 million MT . The production has resulted in the Food Corporation of India (FCI) expressing its helplessness in procuring additional stocks.
He stated that the government decided to increase production of oil palm, groundnut, sunflower, soybean and other oil seeds which will contribute to the nation's self-sufficiency and aid in cutting down the import bill.
Pitching Telangana as an ideal investment destination to members of the association, KTR said the State will offer tailor-made incentives based on investment proposals. The State has earmarked about 10,000 acres for the special food processing zones being planned.
Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy said about 220 million tonnes edible oil was needed every year to feed global population. The country's demand was about 22 million tonnes, but domestic production was about 10-12 million. The deficit was met through imports. An estimated Rs 90,000-100,000 crore was spent on import of oils; palm oil accounted for about 67 per cent.
He stated that the State identified importance and potential of edible oil demand and prepared a plan to support oil palm in 20 lakh acres. About 40,000 acres has been achieved so far of the targeted 1.75 lakh acre this year. Agriculture and allied activities are providing employment on a big scale in the State.