Eluru: A group of 15 farmers from various parts of Arunachal Pradesh have come visiting Oil Palm farmers in West Godavari, to learn new techniques and best practices in growing Oil Palm. The farmers are on a two-day visit (Thursday, August 9th & Friday, 10th) to the district to understand how West Godavari district farmers can produce maximum output.
Andhra Pradesh leads in oil palm cultivation in the country, and mandals in West Godavari district are in the forefront in this! The weather conditions in the region are best suited for oil palm, and thousands of farmers in this region are cultivating it. The Union Government of India recently increased Import Duty on oil palm, thus resulting in increased income for the farmers growing oil palm in Andhra Pradesh. The Government is also offering substantial subsidy on oil palm cultivation to reduce edible oil imports.
The oil palm plantations are holding out many advantages for farmers because of the lack of major pest problems and non-requirement of intensive labor or bulk water even as the final crop yields bring in high returns. Since farmers have been facing problems in raising paddy in the rain-fed areas in the district, they are now looking for an alternative crop that gives them sustainable income. The oil palm cultivation is giving hope for them as it gives easy returns even for 25 years with a minimum annual investment for maintenance of the trees.
3F Oil Palm Agrotech Pvt. Ltd., the leading player in the market has taken upon itself to educate oil palm farmers on the new and emerging techniques to grow the crop efficiently and to identify the right time to harvest the yield. The Company, in consultation with Indian Institute of Oil Palm Research, Pedavegi near Eluru has organized a field for Oil Palm farmers from Chhattisgarh to the Research Institute and to Oil Palm fields under Nalajerla mandal.
Commenting on the training program, Mr. Mukut Kundu, an oil palm farmer from Arunachal Pradesh said, “Oil Palm cultivation has certain nuances that we as farmers must know. Doing the right thing at the time is very important to gain maximum from the yield; and it is important we know these nuances. During this field visit, we learnt newer techniques to increase yield.”
An Oil Palm farming expert and company representative Mr. Srinivasa Rao Killari said, “Oil Palm cultivation is quite lucrative for farmers who practices the right techniques. Starting from the fourth year till more than 25 years on a regular basis, farmers are expected to gain up to a maximum of Rs. 90,000- Rs. 100,000 per acre. It is important that farmers in this sector know the right time to harvest the yield and transfer the same to the collection centers immediately. We are striving to educate farmers on the best practices so to ensure maximum returns.”
The Government has increased incentive from Rs 23,000 per hectare to Rs 30,000 from this financial year. The farmers also get a subsidy of Rs 10,000/hectare and free seedling distribution up to 15 hectares. The incentives include Rs 30,000/hectare for four years and Rs 7,000/hectare to farmers for growing vegetables as an inter-crop in their oil palm plantations. Besides, Rs 15,000 is also given for setting up a compost yard for producing organic manure and Rs 50,000 financial assistance to SC and ST farmers for sinking borewells and Rs 10,000 for purchasing agriculture pumpsets.
The private companies have a buyback arrangement with the farmers and farmers must take the crop to the collection centres. From there, the company transports it to the processing plant. The processed oil is sent to edible oil refineries at Kakinada for further purification. There are several edible oil refineries in Kakinada which refine domestically produced oil from these processing units besides imported crude palmolein from Malaysia.