- NET Web Desk
Palm-oil cultivation, referred as one of the significant topic of debate during the present times along Northeastern regions is believed to be the most land-use efficient oil plant producing about 3-4 tonnes per hectare, whereas other oil crops yield less than one tonne per hectare of land.
However, concerns associated with its grave impacts on environment & biodiversity were considered to be a major cause of concern among environmental stakeholders and governments.
During a national workshop on oil palm cultivation organized by the Union Agriculture & Farmers Welfare ministry in collaboration with the Arunachal Pradesh Government on Tuesday, state representatives have dismissed scientific reports & their concerns on oil palm cultivation causing adverse environmental impacts.
This workshop aimed to provide a final push to the implementation of multi-crores oil palm plantation project across the Northeastern regions.
Addressing the gathering, Agriculture & Horticulture Minister Tage Taki dismissed all scientific reports on oil palm cultivation mentioning about causing adverse environmental impacts. He asserted “the scientific reports on oil palm plantation causing environmental impact are a hoax and negative propaganda. Oil palm plantation never causes environmental impact,” he claimed.
“oil palm trees should be planted extensively in the Brahmaputra river basins for flood control, considering oil palm’s strong roots.” – Taki suggested.
The Agriculture Minister also highlighted “two major issues of agricultural and horticultural projects’ implementation, such as barbed wire fencing provision and approach road fund provision in any agricultural and horticultural projects.”
Stating further about identified potential districts for palm-oil cultivation, Taki mentioned the names, Changlang (including Kanubari in Longding district), Namsai, Lohit, Lower Dibang Valley, East Siang, Lower Siang, the lower part of Kamle, Papum Pare, Pakke-Kessang and West Kameng districts.
However, the Advisor to Agricultural Minister Gabriel D Wangsu stressed on farmers’ concerns over oil palm cultivation, and added that their interests must be protected.
“Deliberate on oil palm cultivation, keeping in mind the Pakke Declaration, though the state has suitable agro-climate for oil palm cultivation.” – he asked the representatives to focus on the same.
However, the Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar urged resource persons to disseminate required knowledge among cultivators about climatic conditions, suitable soil, good quality saplings, manure, inter-cropping, etc, for oil palm cultivation.
It has also been reported that expansion target area proposed by the Centre for the next five years in Arunachal Pradesh for oil palm cultivation is 40,000 hectares.
The northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh is considered of having highest potential among the NE states in terms of having favourable areas for oil palm plantation.
Earlier, during a Business Summit, the Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu asserted that geographically, the largest state in NE, the frontier state already has about 1.33 lakh hectares of land feasible for oil palm cultivation as accessed by a central team in 2019.
If reports are to be believed, a total of 28 hectares of land is available across India for palm-oil cultivation. Out of these, 9.62 hectares of land is available in the Northeast alone.
Its worthy to note that the Central Government after assessing the vast potential of Northeast, approved the National Mission on Edible Oils-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) worth Rs. 11,000 thousand crores, with an intent to transform NE states as oil-palm hub of the nation.