Hyderabad, April 21 (IANS) The Oil Palm Developers and Processors Association (OPDPA), the nodal body for oil palm development in the country, on Thursday welcomed the central government’s move to assist palm oil farmers by implementing a market intervention scheme.
The scheme has been announced for Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB) of oil palm to Rs.7,888 per ton.
Declining crude oil prices over the past year has been the bane of the industry, and has resulted in severe distress for both farmer and industry, the OPDPA said in a statement, adding it has been trying to persuade the state and the central governments to introduce minimum support price (MSP) or market intervention scheme (MIS) to help farmers.
“The announcement of MIS by the government is a huge relief for the farmers and also for the industry which has been bleeding over the last season. OPDPA’s agenda will continue to pursue the cause of getting the much required changes made to existing policies, enhance subsidies and to undertake other significant initiatives to help sustain this important industry,” said association president Sanjay Goenka.
This move is a welcome respite for the farming community in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana who produce more than 90 percent of India’s palm oil.
India’s dependence on vegetable oils is growing at an alarming rate and is expected to grow to 22 million tons by 2020. Today, India has more than 2 lakh hectares under oil palm cultivation, with an additional potential of around 2 million hectares. The industry already employs 20,000 people and has the potential to create 200,000 jobs, OPDA added.