Oil Palm big opportunity for North India: Narendra Singh Tomar

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08 January 2022, New Delhi: A review meet for various agriculture schemes of 8 north east states was organised under the leadership of Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar. Union Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) B L Verma, Ministers for Agriculture of all the 8 North Eastern States attended the meeting. Secretary-DoNER, Secretary-Agriculture, Agriculture Secretaries from the NER States along with senior officials  were present in the meeting.

Addressing the North Eastern States, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Mr. Narendra Singh Tomar assured that the Government of India is doing everything in its capacity to ensure that the income of the farmers of the NER region is doubled. He said, “Our door is always open. I request all State Governments to come up with a proposal if you find any difficulty in any schemes related to the agriculture sector.” 

Speaking on the opportunities in the oil palm sector Mr. Tomar said that ICAR suggested that 9 lakh hectare land in the North East is suitable for oil palm production. Due to the oil palm production farmers of the North Eastern Region will be hugely benefitted, Employment will be generated and import of oil palm can be reduced. Thus North East has a major role to play to make India self-reliant in edible oil.  

The Minister said there are some horticulture and medicinal crops are only produced in North-Eastern State. There is a very big export opportunity for such crops. He said that Agriculture and Commerce Ministry are working together to tap such opportunities and to solve the logistic problems faced by the North Eastern States. 

Agriculture Minister also requested State Government to focus on Natural Farming. He said that the Prime Minister’s vision to minimise the dependence of farmers on purchased inputs through Zero budget Natural farming that reduces the cost of agriculture by relying on traditional field-based technologies which leads to improved soil health through natural farming should be fulfilled. He also congratulated Sikkim and the other North States for their achievements in organic farming.

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G. Kishan Reddy, Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Tourism, and Culture while addressing the states suggested that a task force be formed with representatives from Agriculture Ministry, DoNER and State governments to ensure that the schemes of Agriculture Ministry are saturated for the Northeastern Region and the schemes can be customized to address the unique nature and the nuances encountered in the Northeast Region. 

There is tremendous potential for the development of horticulture such as Pineapple, Oranges, Kiwi, or spices such as turmeric, ginger, cardamom etc as a major contributor to the north east region’s economic prosperity. The Union Agriculture Minister said that there is a need to focus on strengthening the agricultural and horticultural produce value chains. He said that post-harvest management also needs to be improved by involving FPOs, SHGs and the private sector. This is a crucial step in doubling our farmers’ income. There should be greater coordination with the Union Agriculture Ministry, line ministries and among all North Eastern States.During the meeting, brief presentations on the major initiatives/ programmes being run by the Ministries in the Agricultural Sector for the NER States were made by the Agriculture Ministry and Secretaries of all the 8 States of NER. Key schemes/programs discussed during the meeting are as below:

  • Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Regions (MOVCDNER)
  • National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm (NMEO-OP)
  •  Bamboo in North East Region
  • The mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH)

Agriculture Ministers of the Northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura discussed the issues and challenges they were facing in detail.

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