Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh is targeting to increase oil palm cultivation in the state by 1.12 lakh hectares by 2025-26 under a new centrally-sponsored Oil Palm Mission.
State Agriculture Minister K Kanna Babu conducted a meeting with officials of the Horticulture Department here on Wednesday and directed them to encourage oil palm cultivation as an alternative to paddy, particularly in dry-land areas.
An official release from the minister said AP now stood first in the country in oil palm cultivation, covering an area of 1.81 lakh hectares in eight districts of the state.
As many as 1.32 lakh farmers engaged in oil palm cultivation achieved a productivity of 19.81 tonnes of Fresh Fruit Bunches per hectare.
In 2020-21, the state produced 2.40 lakh tonnes of crude palm oil, the minister said.
Kanna Babu said the state government spent Rs 30.60 crore in 2020-21 on Oil Palm Development Programme, under which 8,801 hectares of new area were brought under cultivation.
In 2021-22, 14,567 hectares were identified for oil palm expansion, of which 10,561 hectares were achieved so far.
For 2022-23, a target addition of 20,000 hectares has been set for oil palm cultivation, he added.
The minister said subsidy for plant material has been increased from Rs 12,000 to Rs 20,000 per hectare for indigenous varieties and Rs 29,000 for foreign ones.
Kanna Babu directed the Horticulture Department officials to constitute a committee of experts for mapping the dry land areas that could be brought under oil palm cultivation.
Special Chief Secretary (Agriculture) Poonam Malakondaiah, Horticulture Commissioner S S Sridhar and other officials attended the meeting. PTI