Indian Express – Indian Oil Palm: A sustainable approach to self-reliance

Eco-friendly land management, new technologies key to enhancing domestic palm production.
Article sponsored by Godrej Agrovet

18 March 2020. India is the world’s largest consumer, and importer, of palm oil, inexpensive edible oil that suitably serves the need of the country’s growing population. Even as India’s palm oil consumption has soared more than 300 percent, from 3 million tonnes in 2001 to nearly 10-million tonnes now, the need of the hour is to cut reliance on imports and boost domestic production.

Stepping up local oil palm produce will not only save precious foreign exchange but also augment farmer incomes and boost the country’s rural economy.

Grow in India

Oil palm cultivation in India is a unique story, different from oil palm plantations in other parts of the world. While some of the dominant oil palm producing countries are facing stiff environmental and climate change challenges, India is taking sustainable strides in bringing more land under oil palm cultivation.

Currently, oil palm is grown on more than four lakh hectares across 12 states, with Andhra Pradesh alone accounting for more than 80 percent of total oil palm area in the country.

Over the past 25 years, the oil palm area has expanded in the country through crop conversion from agricultural and horticultural lands, with farmers switching from short-medium duration crops like maize, tobacco, sugarcane, etc. to the long-term prospects of oil palm.

Additionally, waste areas and degraded lands have also been converted to oil palm plantations.

The salient feature of India’s oil palm story is that the country’s forest has not been destroyed or disturbed to create palm plantations, in keeping with the “no harm to nature” philosophy. Most of the oil palm cultivators are farmers and the average size of farm holding is less than 2 hectares per farmer.

Soils of oil palm area of Andhra Pradesh are mostly red soils having loamy to sand texture, with some pockets bearing black clayish soil. These soils inherently have low initial carbon content and oil palm cultivation plays an important catalytic role in carbon storage.

As a result, considerable carbon sequestration has been registered after the introduction of oil palm plantations with good agricultural practices like biomass recycling and mulching adopted by farmers.

Positive Impact

According to one study, the net greenhouse gas removal by sinks in oil palm plantations over a period of 20 years is estimated to be 10.35 lakh tonne carbon-dioxide equivalent in Andhra Pradesh plantations under Godrej Agrovet factory zone alone. This translates to an average value of 18 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per hectare every year.

Other sustainable practices adopted include micro-irrigation which helps in optimisation of water uses and fertigation which furthers the principle of ‘more crop per drop’.

Incidentally, Godrej Agrovet is the first company to get the Indian Palm Oil Sustainability (IPOS) certification, matching international sustainability requirements for oil palm cultivation and sustainable practices being followed by individual land-owning farmers.

Nadir Godrej, Chairman, Godrej Agrovet said, “Oil Palm cultivation in India does not require deforestation. It continuously adds biomass throughout its life cycle thereby helping carbon sequestration and carbon enrichment of the soil. Oil Palm also gives the highest edible oil production per unit area.

Therefore, increasing oil production in India will not only enable the nation to move towards sustainable self-reliance but, it will help in improving farmer’s income considerably with assured returns throughout the year.

With the right mix of Government Policies, Subsidies & Precision farming, India can feed & meet the growing demand of edible oil & bring prosperity to lakhs of farmers”.

The first five years of oil palm crop being the juvenile plantation phase, there are no yields for the initial three years and the yields start picking up from the fourth year onwards. A variety of intercrops are adopted by farmers to generate additional income and sustain during this gestation period.

More than 25 such intercrops are grown to generate income during these non-yielding or low yielding years. This sustainable practice also covers the land and contributes to the addition of carbon content in the soils.

The entire value chain is operated under the public-private partnership model, giving assured buy-back facility to farmers at a fair price through corporate tie-up to process the fresh fruit bunches for palm oil extraction.

Sustainable Future

With 21 percent of the world’s area under oilseed production and 5 percent of the world’s production, India is the fourth largest oilseed producing country in the world, next only to the US, China, and Brazil.

The country possesses the resources for self-sustenance and given the right push through government policies, subsidies, modern farming methods, new production technologies, and sustainable farming practices, India can engage all stakeholders to substantially reduce the import of edible oils and ultimately achieve self-reliance to sustainably meet the needs of its citizens.

A potential one million hectares can be tapped for oil palm alone, bringing prosperity to lakhs of farmers while meeting the needs of millions of consumers.

Oil palm being the highest oil-yielding crop per unit area (3.5 – 4.5 tons oil/Ha) vis-à-vis other oilseed crops (0.5-1 ton oil/Ha), this crop can be a game-changer in producing more oil from limited land resources.

Ensuring further augmentation of farmer incomes, the Indian Institute of Palm Oil Research (ICAR-IIOPR) and government of Andhra Pradesh’s horticulture department are jointly encouraging cultivators and land-owning farmers to undertake cocoa as intercrop in mature oil palm plantations, which potentially doubles their income in a more sustainable manner.

This is a sponsored article, so read it with a critical mind, but they don’t have to be excellent to be more sustainable than Palm Oil plantations in South-East Asia.
Man-in-Blue – Giani Harpreet Singh asks Sikh bodies to use charity funds for helping coronavirus victims

Sikh24 Editors

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 22 March 2020. Amid looming threat of coronavirus outbreak’s community spread in India, the SGPC appointed Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh has directed the worldwide Sikh organizations and Gurdwara management bodies to utilize charity funds for helping the victims of coronavirus.

He has also directed the Sikh diaspora to help students who have gone abroad to get higher education.

Beside it, Giani Harpreet Singh has also directed the Gurdwara Management bodies to get ready to offer rest houses for accommodating coronavirus victims in the hour of need.

All the Sikh organizations, societies and management bodies have also been directed to suspend religious functions for two weeks.

Giani Harpreet Singh has also advised the Sikh sangat to enchant name of the Almighty Lord while residing at homes.

Giani Harpreet Singh asks Sikh bodies to use charity funds for helping coronavirus victims

Gent: Kortrijksesteenweg – Citadelpark

16 February 2020

Tracks for Tram 1 to/from Flanders Expo

Tracks for Tram 1 to/from Flanders Expo

Tram stop W van Nassaustraat

Tram 1 to Flanders Expo

Open Air Theatre
16 February 2020

Open Air Theatre

Open Air Theatre

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

GOV.UK – Charity regulator appoints interim manager to Birmingham charity under inquiry

Appointment follows continued concerns about Sikh Channel Community Broadcasting Company
Published 20 March 2020

From: The Charity Commission

London – UK, 20 March 2020. The Charity Commission has appointed interim managers to take over the management and administration of a charity in Birmingham, following continued concerns about its governance and financial management.

The regulator opened a statutory inquiry into Sikh Channel Community Broadcasting Company Limited (registered charity 1136163) on 13 November 2019. The charity was registered to further the religious and charitable work of the Sikh religion and community and to advance knowledge of the Sikh faith.

The inquiry has continued concerns about the management and administration of the charity, and has therefore exercised its powers under the Charities Act to appoint Mr Philip Watts and Ms Sarah Tomlinson of Anthony Collins Solicitors as interim managers of the charity.

Interim managers are appointed to take over the running of a charity where the Commission has identified misconduct or mismanagement, or there is a need to protect a charity’s property.

Mr Watts and Ms Tomlinson will take on their roles to the exclusion of the trustees and will be responsible for: assessing and reviewing the trustee board; reviewing the relationship between the charity and connected companies; ensuring the charity’s property is safeguarded; reviewing any unauthorised payments to trustees and/or connected parties; reviewing the charity’s broadcasting and editorial oversight processes, and assessing the future viability of the charity.

The appointment was made on 19 March 2020 and will continue until the Commission makes a further order for its variation or discharge.

The Commission’s inquiry continues.

Notes to editors:

  • The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. For more information see the about us page on GOV.UK
  • Section 76(3)(g) of the Charities Act 2011 gives the Commission power to appoint interim managers to a charity. It is a temporary and protective power that is reviewed at regular intervals.
  • It is the Commission’s policy, after it has concluded an inquiry, to publish a report detailing what issues the inquiry looked at, what actions were undertaken as part of the inquiry and what the outcomes were. Reports of previous inquiries are available on GOV.UK. – Delhi violence: We will increase efforts to rehabilitate riot victims, Centre and AAP tell HC

The Centre and the Delhi government said that they are also looking into setting up three additional camps for the victims.

New Delhi – India, 21 March 2020. The Aam Aadmi Party-led government, the Centre and the municipal corporation of East Delhi on Friday assured the Delhi High Court that they will accelerate the process of rehabilitating the victims of the communal violence that broke out in the national Capital last month, PTI reported.

At least 52 people died and over 500 were injured in North East Delhi, after protestors who opposed the Citizenship Amendment Act clashed with those who supported it.

The applications were filed in response to a plea alleging hate speech made by political leaders from several parties, including the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the AAP.

The plea has sought the registration of cases against the politicians for allegedly making provocative speeches and an inquiry by a special investigation team to assess the damages to property in the communal violence.

Central government standing counsel Amit Mahajan and Delhi government standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra told the High Court bench that steps will be taken to focus on the health of the riot victims and to provide them basic amenities such as ambulances, toilets, fire engines, mobile phones and counsellors.

The authorities will also ensure that proper sanitation and hygiene facilities are available to the people at the camps, they added. Bed and linen will also be provided, the counsels added.

The Centre and the Delhi government said that they are also looking into setting up three additional camps on the basis of locations mentioned in the applications seeking interim relief for the riot victims.

Taking cognizance of the claims made by the authorities, the court listed the matter for further hearing on March 24.