Imphal, June 14 2022: Chief Minister N Biren Singh has categorically stated that the State Government had already identified land areas measuring 66,652 hectares in six districts for oil palm cultivation.
He also said that the oil palm project which was virtually inaugurated in Mani- pur on November 12, 2020 could not be expanded due to apprehensions in the minds of the people.
Addressing a one day National workshop on promotion of oil palm in Mani- pur at Hotel Classic Grande today, the Chief Minister continued that there is apprehension among the people in Manipur that oil palm cultivation might degrade soil quality.
Saying that the workshop was organised to discuss and make people aware of the scientifically proven facts about oil palm plantation, N Biren maintained that pineapple, coffee and other crops could also be planted within the premises where oil palms are planted.
India is the largest importer of edible oil in the world, the Chief Minister said and appreciated Oil Palm Manipur team and the officials of Agriculture Department for producing sap- lings of oil palm in a short span of time.
The Chief Minister sought support from every citizen to make India a self-reliant economy.
Further stating that the Oil Palm Project was virtually inaugurated in Manipur on November 12, 2020, the Chief Minister stated that the project could not be expanded due to apprehension about the adverse effect of oil palm plantation.
N Biren then appealed to experts and scientists taking part in the workshop to clear the doubts of the people.
Agriculture Minister Thongam Biswajit Singh, while delivering his presidential speech, stated India is one of the largest importers of oil palm and it drains a large amount of money from the country.
He said that money spent on importing oil palm could be used in other developmental activities once the project is successful.
Expressing that cultivation of oil palm would provide much benefit to farmers, he appealed to take up the initiative of planting oil palm so as to make ‘our country economically viable’ .
He also stressed the need for more funding to increase the coverage of oil palm plantations.
During the programme, short films on Past-Present & Future of Oil Palm Project Manipur and successful stories of oil palm farmers of Arunachal Pradesh were shown.
Additional Chief Secretary (Health) and also Ex-Officio, Chairman of (SLSC) Oil Palm Manipur V Vumlunmang; Commissioner (Agriculture) M Joy Singh, Director of ICAR- Indian Institute of Oil Palm Research, Pedavegi, Andhra Pradesh Dr RK Mathur; Deputy Commissioner (Oil Palm), Ministry of Agriculture BK Srivastava; Agriculture Director N Gojendro; representatives from Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland, scientists, experts and other officials attended the programme among others.
It may be mentioned that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on July 23, 2020 appealed to the farmers in North-East States to take up oil palm cultivation to make India self-sufficient in edible oils.
He also recommended the State Governments of the North East region to set up Oil Palm Missions.