GOALPARA, Sept 12 - A total of 340 hectares of wasteland has been covered till date out of a target of 600 hectares under oil palm plantation by the district under the Centrally-sponsored National Mission on Oilseed & Oil Palm (NMOOP) 2017-18 . The objective of the Mission is to reduce the country’s oil imports for both edible as well as non-edible purposes.A total of around 50 villages have been covered under the NMOOP 2017-18. where uncultivated waste and fallow land has been converted into oil palm farms especially in and around Dudhnoi area where a few enthusiastic farmers and members of SHGs have taken up oilseed farming sensing better options and better yield and more money with minimum care.
Talking to this correspondent, the Agriculture (SDO) & Information Officer, Wahid Ahmed said that the total area under palm cultivation is gradually expanding in the district as many youths, especially a section of rubber growers are getting attracted towards the activity as it has great potential for improving their socio-economic condition.
He informed that under the NMOOP, hybrid oil palm seedlings are given to the farmer groups free of cost. Then Rs 5,000 is given per hectare/year for four years for maintenance of oil palm plants and Rs 5,000 per hectare /year given for inter-cropping. In addition to this, there is a provision for digging farm ponds and dug wells for irrigation purposes and also provision for training to farmer groups.
A total of 700 hectares of land have been covered under palm cultivation in the district, Ahmed added. He further added that the palm trees start bearing fruits after 3 years and the fresh fruit branch (FFB) will be ready for commercial purpose for oil extraction. Talking of assured marketing, Ahmed said since the commercial production will start by 2019 in and around Dudhnoi area, all the fresh fruits will be lifted by the Shiva Sai Oil Palm Private Limited of Hyderabad which has entered into an MoU with the Government of Assam for providing marketing linkages to the farmers. He mentioned that oilseed company has shown keen interest in establishing a processing industry in Dudhnoi.
He further informed that Mizoram is the first State in the NE region where palm oil cultivation was taken up while in Assam, the Boko agricultural subdivision in Kamrup district and the Dudhnoi agricultural subdivision in Goalpara started palm oil cultivation in 2015. By-products of palm oil like kernel oil is used in the cosmetic industry and palm-pressed fibres are used in the mattress industry.