The largest use of palm oil in the world is done in India. But India has to import more than 60 percent of its oil from Indonesia and Malaysia. These two countries are its largest producers in the world. The exercise to become self-sufficient in edible oil has been started by the Government of India. In this, the most attention is to be given to palm oil. For this a scheme named National Mission for Edible Oil-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) has also been started. Under this scheme, more than 11 thousand crore rupees will be invested, which will promote oil palm cultivation in the northeastern states and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The largest use of palm oil in the world is done in India. But India has to import more than 60 percent of its oil from Indonesia and Malaysia. These two countries are the largest producers of it in the world. Between 2020 and 2021, palm oil prices have increased by more than 50 percent. Due to which the prices of edible oil have increased by more than one and a half times. Self-reliant India To control the rising prices, the government had to reduce the import duty. But India’s increased inflation remains a cause for concern amidst the economy worsened by Corona. This increased expenditure is also motivating India to become self-reliant in the matter of palm oil. That is why the Government of India has set a target of cultivating palm on about one million hectares of land by the year 2029-30. That much land will be equal to that of Tripura state of India.
Palm cultivation is currently being done on 3 lakh hectares of land in India, in which 6.5 lakh hectares i.e. equal to Sikkim’s land is to be cultivated further. By doing this, India wants to increase its palm oil production to 11 lakh tonnes. However, many experts are also scared of this. They believe that the speed with which India is trying to implement this plan without thinking about environmental security, it can also become a source of trouble. Without Palm Oil Sub Soon Most Indian dishes cannot be made without ‘edible oil’. For this, palm oil found in the name of refined oil and vegetable oil etc. is used the most. Apart from this, mustard oil, coconut oil and groundnut oil are also used here. But in India, palm oil is also mixed in other edible oils. In this way, the share of palm oil in the total edible oil used in India is about two-thirds. According to the figures for the year 2019-20, the total demand for ‘edible oil’ in India was 25 million tonnes. Whereas this year the quantity of palm oil imported into India stood at 13 million tonnes. This is because apart from edible oil, palm oil is also used as detergent, plastic, cosmetic, soap-shampoo, toothpaste and bio fuel. However, about 94 percent of the total palm oil present in India is used in food products.
Apart from edible oil, it is also widely used in the production of chocolate, coffee, noodles and ice cream. Why Northeast and Andaman Oil palm can be best cultivated in areas where the temperature is 20-30 degree Celsius or more and the humidity is more than 80 percent. South Asia is a suitable place for this. Apart from this, it is also grown in Africa. The Government of India has chosen the northeastern states and Andaman-Nicobar for palm cultivation due to its favorable temperature and humidity. This is also a cause for concern for the experts. Photos: Polls of open bottled water in Barcelona According to him, India’s northeastern states are very environmentally sensitive areas. GV Ramanjanaiyulu, executive director of the Center for Sustainable Agriculture, says, “The government’s plan to plant oil palms in a very large area is also a cause for great fear. In doing so, they can change the temperature, weather and monsoon patterns. Apart from this, the use of chemicals in agriculture can also cause a lot of damage to the land and the surrounding forests. However, in a conversation with an Indian news agency, a government official has said that attention is being paid to this aspect. Hand in climate change, the increasing demand for palm oil is believed to be responsible for the destruction of the tremendous biodiversity forests present in Indonesia and Malaysia. It has caused extensive damage to the habitat of orangutans, pygmy elephants and Sumatran rhinoceros. There have also been reports of these animals being killed many times in the greed of Palm. Its cultivation here has also eliminated many acres of peatland that absorbs carbon dioxide from the environment and has proved to increase the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by several million tons. Indian scientists are also aware of this devastation. In 2002, the Andaman and Nicobar Administration had banned the planting of palm trees in the islands.
The Supreme Court of India had sought suggestions from the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) in this matter. This council, which comes under the Ministry of Environment, Government of India, said in its report submitted in August 2020 that it should be avoided to plant oil palms in areas with good biodiversity without studying the damages to the habitat. Many experts also say that at present palm oil is very important for the middle class customers of India and they cannot live even a day without products made from it. In such a situation, India’s move to reduce dependence on imports is prudent. According to agricultural expert Vijay Sardana, “India has a huge consumption of palm oil. If you depend only on imports, then there will be a big problem if the relations with the importing countries deteriorate,” he says, “which is the main source of oil palm in the Andaman or Northeast states.” Those opposing agriculture should come up with an alternative plan because there is no doubt that India is in dire need of cheap palm oil.One way could be that in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Oil Palm Research in Andaman and The administration of the northeastern states should find a way to minimize the damage to the environment” On the other hand, GV Ramanjanaiyulu says, “The Indian government should instead insist on promoting other oils. Produces crops, such as paddy. Instead of growing it, he can help farmers to encourage oil palm cultivation in South Indian states. Here it may not produce as much as Meghalaya and Andaman, but still it will be sufficient Role of Corporate Lobbying Some Indian experts say that foreign corporate law B is exaggerating environmental fears to discourage oil palm cultivation in India by resorting to foreign NGOs. By the way, despite all the fears related to the environment, the Government of India has approved the cultivation of oil palms in the Andaman and North-Eastern states, after which the experts have attributed the pressure of many big palm oil companies behind the government’s boom. On August 2, even before the government launched the National Palm Oil Mission, Indian yoga guru and industrialist Ramdev, through his company Ruchi Soya, announced palm cultivation in Assam, Tripura and other northeastern states. Apart from this, Adani Wilmar, the largest company of palm oil in India, is also preparing to be listed in the Indian stock market. However, at present the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has banned the company’s IPO. Most experts believe that since India imports edible oil, the third highest price after crude oil and gold, it was necessary for it to take this big step, even if it proves to be harmful to the environment. . Photos: Can mosquitoes be good too?