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Oil palm plan is a recipe for disaster: Opposition

  • Integrity Education, Delhi
  • 30, Aug 2021
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  • Given the widespread destruction of rainforests and native biodiversity caused by oil palm plantations in Southeast Asia, environmental experts and politicians are warning that the Union government’s move to promote their cultivation in the northeastern States and in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands can be disastrous.
  • Other concerns include the impact on community ownership of tribal lands, as well as the fact that the oil palm is a water guzzling, monoculture crop with a long gestation period unsuitable for small farmers.
  • It could also detach tribes people from their identity linked with the community ownership of land and “wreak havoc on the social fabric.
  • The palm is an invasive species.
  • It is not a natural forest product of northeastern India and its impact on our biodiversity as well as on soil conditions has to be analysed even if it is grown in non forest areas.

Government's View

  • Palm oil currently makes up a whopping 55% of India’s edible oil imports, and the new mission is intended to move towards domestic production and self-reliance instead.
  •  land productivity for palm oil is higher than that for oilseeds
  •  the land identified for oil palm plantations in the northeastern States is already cleared for cultivation.