Sunday, July 14, 2024

Oil palm cultivation thriving in AP

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C Pradeep Kumar

Every achievement has a small and humble beginning. So is the case of oil palm cultivation in Andhra Pradesh. What started as an experimental farming initiative in an extent of about 10,000 hectares in Eluru and Kakinada districts, oil palm cultivation has taken the State by storm with a target of 1,12,000 hectares for the year 2022.

Andhra Pradesh was identified as one of the potential states for taking up oil palm plantations due to its conducive climatic conditions and soil suitability. Realising the importance of oil palm, APOILFED in the early 90s took a pioneering step in the State by importing oil palm sprouts and establishing nurseries. The area expansion is targeted to be 6,50,000 hectares under the prestigious National Mission on Edible Oils (NMEO).Initially, oil palm cultivation was taken up in the Pedavegi and Lingapalem mandals of Eluru district in an extent of 8,500 hectares by about 6,000 farmers. Similarly, about 1,400 farmers took up the cultivation in Prathipadu, Yeleswaram and Kirlampudi mandals of the Kakinada district.

According to APOILFED Vice-Chairman & Managing Director Ch Babu Rao, the target given to AP under the National Mission on Edible Oils (NMEO), oil palm was 1,12,000 hectares for area expansion during the years 2021-22 to 2025-26 out of 6,50,000 hectares targeted for the entire country. APOILFED is expected to achieve cultivation in around 7,500 hectares in the allotted mandals during this period, covering about 5,000 farmers.

He said as per the NMEO, the target given for the year 2021-22 is 1,160 hectares of which 739 hectares was achieved, for 22-23 the target is 1,080 hectares target with 1,000 hectares expected to be achieved. For the years 23–24, 24–25 and 25–26, the target set was 2,000 hectares.In the oil year 2018-19, the Fresh Fruit Bunches processed are 75,362 MT with Rs 206 lakh profit, in 2019 – 20 it was 63,441 MT with Rs 931 lakh profit, in 2020 – 21 it was 65963 MT with Rs 815 lakh profit and in 2021 – 22 it was 94133.821 with Rs 3117 lakh profit.The APOILFED VC & MD said the future targets are to meet the increased processing demand and to have a second plant as done by other processors. A new oil palm plant of 45 TPH expandable to 60 TPH capacity is proposed by APOILFED at a tentatively estimated cost of Rs 220 crore.

To meet the above targets as per NMEO, APOILFED requires 7.50 lakh oil palm imported sprouts in the next two years. As of date, APOILFED is growing 1.00 lakh seedlings at the Kamavarapukota nursery. Further, it is planned to import 3.75 lakh OP Sprouts in three spells during the 2023 calendar year @ 1.25 lakh sprouts per spell.

Due to the insufficient process capacity of the plant, during the oil year 2021-22, out of the total procured (FFB) quantity of 1,22,735.486 MT, a quantity of 28,601.665 MT of Fresh Fruit Bunches are diverted to different private oil palm companies and achieved Rs. 731.60 lakh gross profit.

Further, APOILFED has earned a gross profit of Rs 3117.8 lakh, on oil palm activities which are the highest in recent years. From the above, it is evident that the performance of the APOILFED has been phenomenal in the year 2021-22 crushing a record of Fresh Fruit Bunches, i.e, 94133.821, the all-time highest.

APOILFED has been engaged in the marketing of good quality edible oils like groundnut oil, refined sunflower oil, palmolein oil, rice bran oil, ‘Deepam Oil’ & coconut oils under the brand name of ‘Vijaya Oils’ in the State of Andhra Pradesh for the past three-and-a-half decades at a reasonable price and assured quality and quantity through a reliable network of about 150 distributors, institutions and other corporate distributors in the State.

APOILFED has two Oil Packing Stations, one at Vakalapudi, Kakinada, and another at Sarvepalli, Venkatachalam mandal in SPSR Nellore district with an installed capacity of about 5,000 MT per month and 3000 MT per month respectively. The Federation follows the FSSAI standards while packing edible oils, Babu Rao concluded.

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