Telangana Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy today stressed, once again, the need to focus on palm oil production and on growing commercial crops.
At a virtual meeting on farming, the minister instructed the officials concerned to encourage the farmers in the state to grow oil palm, saying that there was "a huge demand" for palm oil in the country.
"It will be beneficial for the farmers of Telangana to grow oil palm as the crop is in heavy demand across the nation. Currently, this demand is met by importing high quantities of the oil from other nations. This costs the country Rs 70,000 crore. We want the farmers of our state to fill this demand gap and profit from the same. Our government will support them in this endeavour," he explained.
"Out of a total of 80 lakh acres of farmland, currently, only 8 lakh acres are used for oil palm cultivation in the state. Our government aims to cultivate oil palm on 20 lakh acres. I hope that many farmers will come forward and rear this crop as this will be profitable to them - each tonne of palm oil sells for Rs 19,000 and every acre yields 19 to 20 tonnes. To encourage shift to commercial cropping, we will give incentives and subsidies for oil palm cultivation to the farmers," Reddy added.
Justifying his emphasis on oil palm cultivation further, he continued, "People in India consume 22 lakh mt litres of palm oil. Of this, only 7 lakh mt litres is produced domestically. There is clearly a gap in the market. To fill it, Telangana's farmers should shift to rearing oil palm, sesame, sunflower, groundnut and other commercial crops as this will improve their livelihood outcomes. Besides, our government provides large amounts of financial aid for oil palm cultivation. Farmers must make use of this opportunity."
The Telangana government has been urging the farmers in the state to take up oil palm farming for some time now. Recently, Reddy himself had made a plea to the farmers to shift to growing commercial crops
like oil palm.