Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh launched the Oil Palm Project Manipur through video conference held at the Cabinet Hall of the Chief Minister’s Secretariat in Imphal on Thursday.

The project has been taken up under the agriculture department of Manipur.

State chief secretary, Dr Rajesh Kumar; principal secretary to health, V Vumlunmang; agriculture commissioner Mongjam Joy and other officials also attended the launching programme.

Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister congratulated the sub-committee on oil palm for successfully taking up the new project.

Stating that the project has been taken up under the national mission on oilseed and palm oil, which aims to make India self-sufficient in edible oils and even export to other countries, N Biren said oil palm cultivation is suitable in the warmer region.

The project was started after identifying suitable areas for its cultivation and the government had identified areas in Chandel, Churanchandpur, Imphal West, Bishnupur, Ukhrul and Thoubal districts, he said.

The chief minister said the oil palm cultivation could be an alternative to the jhum cultivation and poppy cultivation as oil palm is the highest vegetable oil yielding perennial crop with an effective income generation to farmers and beneficial to the environment as well.

N Biren said the climate assessing departments identified 66,652 hectares of suitable land through satellite mapping out of which the government had initially targeted to cultivate the oil palm on 200 hectares of land.

Under the funding of the central government, the state has procured seeds from Mizoram and Andhra Pradesh and had a plan for cultivation in hill areas to replace poppy plantations, the CM said.

He maintained that the most important thing is the continuation of the project through active participation of district agriculture officers and other officials concerned to ensure proper growth of the planted oil palm.

Such steps could help attain the aim of the state government to make the state self-reliant and improve the economic status through exports of various products produced in the state, he added.

During the launching programme, agriculture director Laltanpuii Vanchhong gave a power-point presentation on the Oil Palm Project, Manipur.

That Oil Palm Mission Manipur was constituted on August 20 this year with the joint director of agriculture as the Mission director with technical staff supported by a consultant.

A Sub-Committee on Oil Palm was also constituted with the principal secretary to health as the chairman.

The sub-committee also had members from Central Agricultural University, ICAR Manipur Centre, director, MARSAC, agriculture and horticulture department.

Sobhapati Samom

Sobhapati Samom is Northeast Now Correspondent in Imphal. He can be reached at: ssamom@gmail.com