Oil palm production; farmers showing huge interest in India – Godrej Agrovet.
Farmers in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh (AP), Tamil Nadu, and Odisha are showing a huge interest in palm oil production, according to Godrej Agrovet Ltd, the country’s largest producer of oil palm. To accommodate the rising demand for oil palm seedlings, the company is doubling its nursery capacity to supply seedlings imported from Thailand, Malaysia, and the Ivory Coast.
‘For the previous 12-15 months, we’ve seen a tremendous demand for oil palm saplings. The issue is that the domestic ability to supply oil palm sprouts and seedlings is limited. As a result, we must import from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Central America,’ said Sougata Niyogi, CEO of Godrej Agrovet Ltd’s Oil palm division.
International suppliers, on the other hand, are also finding it difficult to supply the increased demand in India. ‘We expect the situation to improve as these companies expand their seed production capacity,’ said the company.
Also Read – Godrej Agrovet plans to venture into oil palm and plant up to one lakh hectares.
After customs and quarantine clearance, imported oil palm seedlings are monitored and appraised at the company’s nurseries for about a year before being supplied to farmers for planting, according to Niyogi. He claims that the imported germplasm has a higher oil content and productivity.
The nursery’s capacity has increased by double
Godrej has increased its nursery capacity from roughly seven lakh to around fourteen lakh saplings. As part of its efforts to grow nurseries in Telangana, AP, and Tamil Nadu, the business is increasing its capacity to roughly 20 lakh saplings. According to Niyogi, 150 saplings per acre are necessary.
Godrej has an oil palm plantation covering over 60,000 hectares. In the last five years, it has added roughly 19,000 hectares, mostly in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, and Odisha. Around 35,000 hectares of fruit-bearing land are available. In Andhra Pradesh, the corporation has roughly 35,000 hectares of oil palm, 6,000 hectares in Telangana, 3,000 hectares in Tamil Nadu, 2,000 hectares in Odisha, and also in Mizoram.
‘We expect to add roughly 7,000 hectares per year, totaling around 30,000-35,000 hectares over the next five years,’ Niyogi added.
The government’s focus on growing edible oil production through the National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm is perceived as boosting oil palm plantation expansion. Niyogi said the corporation was aiming to make oil palm cultivation more sustainable by implementing better farming methods among farmers, in addition to focusing on area growth. ‘Our main goal is to increase agricultural production while using less water and nutrients,’ he explained.
Drip irrigation and micro-irrigation
About 99 percent of the agricultural area in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, where oil palm is grown extensively, is irrigated by drip and micro-irrigation. ‘We’re also urging farmers to apply nutrients using drip irrigation, which will help them use fertilizer more efficiently,’ he said.
In the first nine months of fiscal 2022, Godrej’s income from the oil palm sector surpassed 1,075 crores, a 68 percent increase over the same period the previous year. Also Read – Govt intend to achieve Aatmanirbhar in edible oil under oil palm cultivation.
Regarding the impact of Indonesia’s embargo on palm oil exports, Niyogi stated that refinery supplies are secured for May, but that if the ban continues, there could be major disruptions beyond May. According to Niyogi, the rise in edible oil prices may motivate farmers to plant more oilseeds like groundnut and soyabean in the upcoming Kharif cropping season.