Puttur, (The Hindu): Additional Director of State Horticulture (Oil Palm) H.S. Shivakumar said here on Friday that taking up oil palm cultivation in clusters will help farmers.
Addressing a meeting of oil palm growers of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi, he said the country imported 144 lakh tonnes of edible oil in 2016-17. In that, 70% constituted oil palm, which is a profitable crop. Of the country’s edible oil requirement 50% is imported.
Now farmers in the State get 10,000 per one tonne of fresh fruit bunches. In all, three companies have been permitted to promote oil palm cultivation in association with the government.
Responding to questions from farmers, he said if a grower wants to get government facilities, there should be plantation on at least one acre. Taking up cultivation in clusters helps farmers during fresh fruit bunch collection, and in transportation of saplings for planting.
He said 10,400 hectares of land was under oil palm cultivation in the State in 2016-17 with production of 15,000 tons of fresh fruit bunches.
Mr. Shivakumar said an assistant horticulture officer, especially for guiding growers, can be posted. He would take up the posting issues with higher-ups in the department. T. Shivananda, Assistant Director of Horticulture (oil palm promotion), Shivamogga said now oil palm cultivation is spread over 20 districts in five watershed areas. Coca, pepper and coffee can be grown as intercrop.
K. Vasanth Rao Todikana, president, Dakshina Kannada Oil Palm Grower’s Association said official apathy has hit oil palm promotion in the coastal belt.
The government should announce special package for its promotion among arecanut growers whose plantations have been hit by yellow leaf disease. The government should come out with an action plan for its promotion in the coastal belt, especially in areas which have been severely hit by yellow leaf disease.
‘Don’t expand area under arecanut’
Konkodi Padmanabha, former president of CAMPCO, said here on Friday that arecanut growers should put an end to expansion of area. Addressing the oil palm growers meeting, he said arecanut is consumed mainly in India and Pakistan and to some extent in China. He allayed fears that the government will ban arecanut. It has medicinal value and is not carcinogenic, he said. The government recently hiked the import duty on oil palm from 30% to 42 %, he said.
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