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Modi to bet $1.5 billion on palm oil plan as imports surge

News:

  • Modi is targeting India’s $10 billion import bill for edible oils, its third-highest overseas spend after oil and gold, and has already been considering buying oilseeds directly from farmers and boosting government support for growing rapeseed, soybeans and peanuts.
  • A successful Indian push into palm cultivation would drag on international markets for the commodity, hitting Indonesia and Malaysia as they are currently the only major growers of the crop.
  • Palm, the highest-yielding perennial edible oil crop, needs a fraction of the area used to grow other oilseeds, potentially attractive in a country like India where land is increasingly scarce as the population rockets.
  • the government hopes that its $1.5-billion backing will make the difference, with sources saying that direct support from Modi will also be key.
  • “The bizarre rule that subjects (growers) to the land ceiling laws that don’t allow commercial cultivation of oil palm by private companies is the crux of the problem,” said B.V. Mehta, executive director of industry body the Solvent Extractors’ Association of India.

Source: ET

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