PALM OIL (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env & Eco)

News-CRUX-10     13th September 2023        

Context: Recently, Assam Chief Minister revealed that the state government had embarked on a significant oil palm plantation project in collaboration with Patanjali Food Limited (PFL).

  • The ambitious project is an initiative to achieve the India’s Prime Minister goal of self-sufficiency in edible oil production. 

Oil Palm planation and adverse impacts

  • GREEN, a 2009 documentary by Patrick Rouxel, highlighted the impacts of deforestation triggered by oil palm plantations in Indonesia

oIt focussed on the orangutans of the region. A similar scenario is likely to happen in  Northeast India as well. 

  • Northeast together encompass two global biodiversity hot spots: The Eastern Himalayas and the Indo-Myanmar region

oThese regions flaunt extensively rich biodiversity in terms of forest tracts, which are home to several threatened and endemic wildlife species as well as medicinal plants.

  • Impact on National Parks: Assam, with significant biodiversity and national parks like Manas and Kaziranga, should avoid monoculture plantation projects that could harm its rich ecological diversity.

oThe proximity of the trees planted to optimise the use of limited available space further impacts soil quality. 

  • Fertilisers and pesticides are frequently used to compensate for the deficiency of nutrients. 
  • Amendments to Forest (Conservation) Act: Recent amendments have implications for the expansion of oil palm plantations by allowing non-forest activities in deemed forests, potentially leading to deforestation.

Palm Oil

  • About: It is also known as palm fruit oil. Palm oil is produced from the fruit of the oil palm tree (Scientific name: Elaeis guineensis).
  • Production: Indonesia> Malaysia - 84% of the worlds palm production
  • Consumption:  India (9.4 million tonnes)> Indonesia (6 million tonnes)
  • Major Oil Palm Production States in India:- Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam, Kerala, Gujarat,
  • Goa, Tamilnadu, Maharashtra, Tripura, West Bengal and some areas of Andaman

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