Date palm cultivation for edible oil:

Date palm cultivation for edible oil:

Date Palm cultivation for edible oil:

Countries like Sri Lanka and Indonesia have banned the cultivation of dates, as it has harmful effects on the environment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his speech on 15 August, had announced the promotion of palm oil (date or palm oil) to make India self-reliant in the field of edible oils.

After this, in this sequence, the Union Council of Ministers announced a package of Rs 11,000 crore. India has been importing edible oils for a long time. The main reason for this is the ever-increasing demand for edible oils in the country.

The consumption of edible oils in the year 2011-12 was 18.8 million tonnes in India. The per capita edible oil consumption was 16 litres per capita/per year in the same year, which increased to 18 litres per capita/year in 2016.

In the year 2020, India imported one crore 841 lakh tonnes of edible oils. These imports were made from Malaysia and Indonesia.

Date Palm cultivation for edible oil:

Agro-business groups have warmly welcomed this policy of the government. The ‘National Edible Oil Mission’ is a major effort of the Government of India to reduce dependence on imports for the supply of edible oils.

Earlier, in the 1990s, this mission was called ‘Yellow Revolution’, whose main objective was to boost oilseeds production. In India, mainly groundnut, mustard, soybean or sunflower oil is used as edible oil.

The production of these oilseeds is high in those states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, where irrigation facilities are not available in abundance. Oilseeds are the main crop of low rainfall areas and a major source of income and food security for small and marginal farmers of such areas.

These efforts of the government resulted in a significant increase in oilseeds production in India, but the demand for edible oils also increased. As such, the increasing yield of traditional oilseeds was not sufficient.

This is the reason why India is meeting its needs through imports. To reduce this dependence on the import of edible oil, the Prime Minister has talked about promoting date palm cultivation, but given the Indian conditions and the global experience of date oil, this program may prove to be a new mistake.

Date Palm cultivation for edible oil:

Sri Lanka has banned date palm cultivation and old trees are also being uprooted as per government directives. Indonesia, which has been the biggest beneficiary of date palms, in 2018 banned any new date palm cultivation for three years.

The biggest reason for this is the harmful effects of date palm cultivation on the environment. According to the new announcement of the Government of India, the cultivation of palm will be promoted in the North-East states. For this, the forests there will be used.

Thus, while on the one hand, it will directly affect the destruction of forests, on the other hand, it will also harm the biodiversity of the North-East states.

The North-East states are one of the most bio-diverse regions in India. There are 57 different types of forests. The state is the parent of citrus fruits and home to over 850 bird species.

Date Palm cultivation for edible oil:

Similarly, the forests of the northeast are also home to such valuable herbs, which are used in medicines. Date palm cultivation is destructive to the forests.

A direct example of this can be seen in the destruction of forests in Indonesia in the last four decades. Indonesia has lost 11,5495 million hectares of forest in 2020.

The use of palm oil in Indian households is still negligible, but following this government policy, it may replace traditional oilseeds.

In such a situation, it is natural for farmers to increase their dependence on the market.

It is a tragedy that governments in India have not yet learned from the devastating effects of the Green Revolution and efforts are on to impose agricultural ideas imported from other countries into Indian conditions.

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AUTHORDeepa Chandravanshi

Deepa Chandravanshi is the founder of The Magadha Times & Chandravanshi. Deepa Chandravanshi is a writer, Social Activist & Political Commentator.

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