Wednesday, June 19, 2024

MK Agrotech, M11 Industries launch extensive oil palm plantation program in Odisha

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Karnataka-based MK Agrotech Pvt Ltd, a leading edible oil and food company in India, and M11 Industries, have launched an ambitious oil palm plantations programme in Odisha. The Karnataka-based companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Odisha under the National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm (NMEO-OP).

The oil palm plantation programme has been launched in Nuapada and Bolangir districts, with 31 farmers already on board. By 2029-30, the plan is to commence a palm oil mill in the state, with FFB processing capacity of 10 Metric Tons per Hour (TPH) initially. In fact, M11 industries Pvt Ltd’s team has initiated identifying progressive and interested farmers for oil palm plantations in Bolangir and Nuapada district in Odisha.

This will be followed by dedicated training, technical support and capacity building along with assistance in establishment of nurseries and supply of quality planting materials to farmers. Micro irrigation will be the game changer and the focus is to ensure the farmers have irrigation systems installed in their farms.

The oil palm plantations will be productive to a greater extent in Bolangir and Nuapada districts as they come into contact with the oil palm farmers from the neighbouring Bargarh district with almost similar climatic and soil conditions. The farmers in Bargah are extremely happy with oil palm plantation, thanks to the returns and profits they’re making, limited marketing, less-labour-intensive crop and threefold increase in profit than paddy.

Currently, India is the largest importer of edible oils in the world. In 2020-21, India imported about 13.35 million tonnes of edible oils worth INR 80,000 crore. Among the imported edible oils, the share of palm oil is the highest (60%), followed by soybean oil (25%), and sunflower (15%). Domestic edible oil production has not been able to keep pace with the growth in yearly consumption, which has exceeded 25 million tonnes.

Elaborating on MK Agrotech Pvt Ltd’s strategic decision to foray into oil palm plantations in Odisha, Mannan Khan, Director, MK Agrotech Pvt Ltd said, “Oil palm-originated from West Africa is comparatively a new crop in India and around nine million tonnes or more of palm oil is imported every year. Interestingly, Oil Palm has the capability to produce highest oil yield per hectare per year. In comparative terms, its yield is more than three times than the average oil yield per hectare per year that we get from domestic traditional oilseeds. Over the decades, the Government of India has been making continual efforts to expand the area under cultivation of oil palm across various states in India in order to maximize the domestic production of edible oils and to bring down the excessive reliance on imports.”

MK Agrotech’s flagship brand Sunpure has the distinction of being India’s foremost edible oil brand and the country’s first chemical-free, processed and physically refined oil, with government patented technology. Over the past 28 years, the company has made substantial efforts to reduce India’s dependence on imports to meet its edible oil requirements.

“At MK Agrotech, we share the vision of ‘Make in India’ and self-sufficiency in edible oil production. Partnering with the Government in the implementation of NMEO-OP in Odisha is a long-term commitment to work towards an inclusive Indian economy that maximises the benefits for the farmers as well as all the other stakeholders,” added Mannan.

Nasim Ali, Adviser to MK Agrotech (Former CEO- Oil Palm Plantation Division, Godrej Agrovet Ltd.) said, “The plan is to adopt a cluster approach and develop a few model farming plots with the farmers in Bolangir district and Nuapada district. There are primarily two requirements for oil palm plantation – at least half a hectare of land and assured water availability throughout the year for irrigating the crop. It’s less labour-intensive crop and can easily provide an assured net annual income of INR 1.5 lakh per hectare per year or more to farmers, once plantation is matured. The need of the hour is greater awareness and we are working on campaigns, especially at the village level, with the support of various government authorities at local level. At MK Agrotech, we strongly believe that a sustainable approach that empowers all stakeholders is the best strategy for success.”

Under NMEO-OP, the Government provides huge financial support in the form of various subsidies to encourage farmers to grow oil palm. Currently, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala are the major palm oil producing States, accounting for nearly 90% of the country’s total production.

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