Context:

The Centre will spend ₹11,000 crore for a new mission – National Mission on Edible Oil-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP).

Relevance:

GS-III: Agriculture (Agricultural Resources, Food Security), GS-II: Governance (Government Policies & Interventions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About India’s Oilseeds Production and Imports
  2. About National Mission on Edible Oil-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP)
  3. Alternative sources

About India’s Oilseeds Production and Imports

  • India’s vegetable oil economy is world’s fourth largest after USA, China & Brazil.
  • India is also third largest cultivator of oilseeds in the world and paradoxically meets into more than 50% requirement through imports.
  • Major Oilseeds Producing Areas in India are: Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh.
  • Due to diverse agro-climatic conditions and geographical locations, farmers are able to grow all the nine annual oilseeds viz. groundnut, rapeseed, soybean, sunflower, sesame, safflower, niger, castor and linseed.
  • In India, oilseeds are second most important crop after cereals sharing 14% of the country’s gross cropped area and accounting for nearly 3% of GDP.
  • Oilseed accounts for 13% of the Gross Cropped Area, 3% of the Gross National Product and 10% value of all agricultural commodities.
  • India needs a threefold increase in the oilseeds production in the next 35 years as – like pulses, oilseeds face severe challenges in terms of climatic stresses and unfavourable farming conditions.
  • Oilseed cultivation is mainly undertaken on marginal land by resource poor farmers who are generally reluctant to provide necessary inputs for increasing the productivity.
  • Nearly 82% of the oilseeds area fall under rainfed farming where climatic vagaries cause severe damage to crops.
  • Out of the total requirement, 10.50 million tonnes are produced domestically from primary (Soybean, Rapeseed & Mustard, Groundnut, Sunflower, Safflower & Niger) and secondary sources (Oil palm, Coconut, Rice Bran, Cotton seeds & Tree Borne Oilseeds) and remaining 60%, is met through import.
  • Despite the oilseed production of the country growing impressively, there exists a gap between the demand and supply of oilseeds, which has necessitated sizeable quantities of imports.

About National Mission on Edible Oil-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP)

  • National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP) was implemented during the 12th Five Year Plan, to expand the oil palm areas and increase the production of edible oils.
  • It was later merged with the National Food Security Mission.
  • NMEO-OP aims resolve to allow India to be independent or self-reliant in edible oil production.
  • Through this mission, more than ₹11,000 crore will be invested in the edible oil ecosystem.
  • The government will ensure that farmers get all needed facilities, from quality seeds to technology.
  • Along with promoting the cultivation of oil palm, this mission will also expand the cultivation of our other traditional oilseed crops.

Need for NMEO-OP

  • During the last few years, the domestic consumption of edible oils has increased substantially and has touched the level of 18.90 million tonnes in 2011-12 and is likely to increase further.
  • A substantial portion of our requirement of edible oil is met through import of palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia.
  • It is, therefore, necessary to exploit domestic resources to maximize production to ensure edible oil security for the country.

Alternative sources

  • Oil Palm is comparatively a new crop in India and is the highest vegetable oil yielding perennial crop.
  • With quality planting materials, irrigation and proper management, there is potential of achieving 20-30 MT Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFBs) per ha after attaining the age of 5 years.
  • Therefore, there is an urgent need to intensify efforts for area expansion under oil palm to enhance palm oil production in the country.
  • Tree Borne Oilseeds (TBOs), like sal, mahua, simarouba, kokum, olive, karanja, jatropha, neem, jojoba, cheura, wild apricot, walnut, tung etc. are cultivated/grown in the country under different agro-climatic conditions.
  • These TBOs are also good source of vegetable oil and therefore need to be supported for cultivation.

-Source: The Hindu

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