- September 9, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Subject – Geography
Context – ‘Several studies have shown that palm oil poses no risk to health’.
- India imports 60 per cent of the edible oil it consumes and runs up an import bill of ₹80,000 crore. Of that, palm oil alone accounts for 55 per cent.
- While palm is the most prolific and efficient source of vegetable oil, it has a really bad reputation. Activists call it the coal of the food world: bad for health, bad for the planet.
- In south-east Asia, palm monoculture has eaten into nearly 10 million hectares of forests. In middle-class perception, it’s an unhealthy oil.
- In the quest for self-sufficiency, the government last week introduced the National Mission for Edible Oil and Oil Palm (MNEO-OP), which seeks to give a big push to domestic palm oil cultivation.
- In India it is a farmers’ crop, grown in existing farmlands with intercropping.
- Palm oil is rich in vitamin A and E, and in coenzymes like ubiquinone that help fight cardiac diseases.
- Palm is good for sequestering carbon. It is actually a form of afforestation. A palm tree produces two to three new leaves per month. A lot of biomass, too, gets added to the soil.
- The requirement of pesticides and herbicides is significantly less for oil palm compared to other crops.
- If you look at the productivity levels of groundnuts, soyabean, sunflower, sesame, and if you look at the oil palm productivity, it stands very tall. On an average four to six tonnes of oil per hectare per year is produced through oil palm. For other oilseeds it is about 0.4 tonnes.
- The total water requirement is less than that for rice or sugarcane.
- Palm oil is cheap because it is highly productive. Not because its bad. The cost of cultivation is low and yields very high.
For more information on National Edible Oil Mission – Oil Palm (NMEO-OP), please click here.