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Why Meghalaya want to stay away from Palm Oil plantations? 

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Shillong, Sept 13: Amid a major push to increase domestic production of palm oil, Meghalaya wants to stay away from palm oil plantations due to concerns over deforestation and its negative impact on biodiversity, as well as opposition by farmers.

James K Sangma, National People’s Party leader and chairman of the Meghalaya Industries Development Corporation, and the state’s agriculture and health minister, Ampareen Lyngdoh have opposed the recent drive to boost oil palm plantations.

Agriculture minister Ampareen Lyngdoh has said that instead, the Meghalaya government will focus on helping farmers get a better return for their produce through export and value addition.

James Sangma had said, “I understand the national mandate for the palm oil push, but I have historically opposed its cultivation on biodiversity terrain like ours ever since there was the push on the same”.

“Our ancient forests and biodiversity perform valuable climate service for the nation and we are looking at a sustainable livelihood model that is less extractive in nature,” he said.

Also, two Lok Sabha MPs from Meghalaya were among the parliamentarians from the North East who signed a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to reconsider plans to increase oil palm plantations in the North East region.

Shillong MP Vincent H. Pala and Tura MP Agatha Sangma joined Assam MPs Pradyut Bordoloi, Abdul Khaleque, and Gaurav Gogoi, and Manipur MP Lorho S. Pfoze in a joint letter to Modi stating that oil palm plantations pose adverse effects on the environment of the region.

Meanwhile, in a statement issued by the Union Farm Ministry on July 30, three major oil palm processing companies, Patanjali Foods, Godrej Agrovet, and 3F, are promoting and participating with farmers in their respective states.

Major oil palm-growing states 

An oil palm plantation drive was also held by the state governments, along with oil palm processing states, from July 25 to August 12 under the National Mission for Edible Oils—Oil Palm.

Major oil palm-growing states, including Mizoram, Assam, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Goa, and Tripura, participated in the drive.

National Mission on Palm Plantations 

The main aim behind increasing the oil palm production area to 10 lakh ha and boost the crude palm oil production to 11.20 lakh tonnes by 2025-26. The main motive behind this mission is mainly aimed at reducing India’s import burden.

It must be noted that India is the world’s largest importer and consumer of palm oil.

Also read: Manipur’s Makepeace Sitlhou wins Rocky Mountain Emmy for documentary

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