The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to launch a new Mission on Oil palm to be known as the National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) as a new Centrally Sponsored Scheme.

Main Points of NMEO-OP:

  • Special focus will be on the North east region and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.  Due to the heavy dependence on imports for edible oils, it is important to make efforts for increasing the domestic production of edible oils in which increasing area and productivity of oil palm plays an important part.
  • A financial outlay of11,040 crore has been made for the scheme, out of which Rs.8,844 crore is the Government of India share and Rs.2,196 crore is State share and this includes the viability gap funding also.
  • Under this scheme, it is proposed to cover an additional area  of 6.5 lakh hectare (ha.) for oil palm till the year 2025-26 and thereby reaching the target of 10 lakh hectares ultimately.  The production of Crude Palm Oil (CPO) is expected to go upto 11.20 lakh tonnes by 2025-26 and upto 28 lakh tonnes by 2029-30.
  • The scheme will immensely benefit the oil palm farmers, increase capital investment, create employment generation, shall reduce the import dependence and also increase the income of the farmers.
  • For the first time, the Government of India will give price assurance to the oil palm farmers for the Fresh Fruit Bunches. This will be known as the Viability Price (VP). The second major focus of the scheme is to substantially increase the assistance of inputs/interventions. Further substantial increase has been made for maintenance and inter-cropping interventions. A special assistance @ Rs 250 per plant is being given to replant old gardens for rejuvenation of old gardens.  

Why was the need felt for the Scheme?

  • Since 1991-92, many efforts have been made by the Government of India to increase the production of oilseeds and oil palm. The oilseeds production has increased from 275 lakh tons in 2014-15 to 365.65 lakh tons in 2020-21.  For harnessing the potential of palm oil production, in the year 2020, an assessment has been made by the Indian institute of Oil Palm Research (IIOPR) for cultivation of oil palm which has given an assessment of around 28 lakh ha.  Thus, there is huge potential in oil palm plantation and subsequently production of Crude Palm Oil (CPO). At present only 3.70 lakh hectares is under Oil Palm cultivation. Oil palm produces 10 to 46 times more oil per hectare compared to other oilseed crops and has yield of around 4 tons oil per ha. Thus, it has enormous potential for cultivation.
  • Keeping the above in view, and also the fact that even today around 98% of CPO is being imported, it is proposed to launch the Scheme to further increase the area and  production of CPO in the country.  The proposed scheme will subsume the current National Food Security Mission-Oil Palm programme