Govt aims to cut import dependence on palm oil by 25-30%

The Central government is aiming at reducing import dependence on palm oil by 25 to 30% through the production of 2.8 million tonne (MT) of oil by 2030 under the National Edible Oil Mission. Currently, around 0.35 million hectare (MH) is under palm plantation. Under the mission launched last year, an additional area of 0.65 MH will be brought into palm plantations by 2025-26.

India imports 56% of its edible oil requirement annually. The country imports around 8 MT of palm oil while the domestic production is around 0.5 MT. In August 2021, the national oil palm mission was launched with an investment of Rs. 11,040 crore. Out of which the Centre’s share is Rs. 8,844 crore, while the rest is contributed by the state government for providing feasibility gap funding and financial assistance for planting material.

Currently, India produces about 44% of its domestic edible oil consumption requirement. Mustard (40%), soybean (24%), and groundnut (7%) are other oils that have a share in domestic production. India’s annual imports are around 13-14 MT. Around 8 MT of palm oil is imported from Indonesia and Malaysia, while other oils, such as soya and sunflower, come from Argentina, Brazil, Ukraine, and Russia.

Meanwhile, the government has been working on a plant to increase the area under sunflower production which used to be grown on 2.66 MH in 1993-94. According to an agriculture ministry official, the average area under sunflower ranged from 2.1 MH in 1990-95 to 1.94 MH in 2005-2010. The area decreased to 0.28 MH during 2017-18 and currently standing around 0.26 MH.

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