Imphal: Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh attended the inaugural function of One Day National Workshop on Promotion of Oil Palm in Manipur at Hotel Classic Grande, Chingmeirong, Imphal East, on Tuesday.
The workshop was organised by the department of agriculture under CSS of National Mission on Edible Oils and Oil Palm (NMEO-OP).
There had been apprehension in the public about degradation of soil, forest and nothing could be planted on the soil once the oil palm plantation had been taken up. As such, the workshop had been organised to discuss and make people aware of the scientifically proven facts that no harm had been caused by oil palm plantation, Biren said. Crops like pineapple, coffee etc could also be grown successfully within the premise of oil palm plantation areas, he added.
Mentioning India as the largest importer of edible oil in the world, the chief minister appreciated the talents and efforts of Oil Palm Manipur team and officials of agriculture department for being able to produce saplings of oil palm in a short span of time. He expressed his opinion on the necessity for everyone to contribute in making our nation self sustainable and enhance its economic growth, as many items which we consume are being imported from outside the country.
The Oil Palm Project was virtually inaugurated in Manipur on November 12, 2020 and potential areas of 66,652 hectares had been identified in six districts by verifying suitable areas through observation and had started the plantation. There had been delay in expansion of projects due to certain apprehensions in the minds of people about the adverse effect of oil palm plantation, he added.
He appealed to experts and scientists, taking part in the workshop, to give a conclusion with a positive message after the workshop, so that the apprehension could be cleared.
Agriculture minister Thongam Biswajit Singh, said India is one of the largest importers of oil palm, draining a large amount of money from the country. Once the production of palm oil is started through large scale cultivation of oil palm, the huge amount spent on importing the same could be sidelined for use in other developmental projects, he added.
Expressing that cultivation of oil palm would provide much benefit to farmers, he appealed to take up the initiative of planting oil palm in a faster manner so as to make our country economically viable. He stressed the need for more funding to enhance the area of coverage for plantation of oil palm as the state had already identified large areas of potential land for such plantation.
During the inaugural programme, short video films on Past-Present and Future of Oil Palm Project Manipur and successful stories of oil palm farmers of Arunachal Pradesh were also shown.
Additional chief secretary (health) and also ex-officio, chairman of (SLSC), Oil Palm Manipur V. Vumlunmang, commissioner (agriculture) M. Joy Singh, director, ICAR- Indian institute of Oil Palm Research, Pedavegi, Andhra Pradesh Dr R.K. Mathur, deputy ommissioner (Oil Palm), ministry of agriculture, B.K. Srivastava, director, department of agriculture, N. Gojendro, representatives from Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland, scientists, experts and other officials attended the programme among others.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while delivering an address during the virtual foundation stone laying ceremony of Manipur water Supply Project on July 23, 2020 appealed to the farmers in North-Eastern states to take up Oil Palm cultivation with an aim to make India self-sufficient in edible oils. He also recommended the state governments of North Eastern region to set up Oil Palm Missions in the respective states to promote cultivation of the Oil Palm.