Monsoon Forecast Raises Hope; Palm Oil Planters to Increase Acreage

With the meteorological department predicting normal or above normal rainfall this year, palm oil planters in the country are hoping to increase acreage this year. The total area under Palm cultivation fell by 50 percent last year. However, this year the acreage is likely to go up by 40,000 hectares.

The total area under palm cultivation was 1.64 lakh hectres. However, it had nearly halved in 2015 to about 80,000 hectares. Palm oil planters are now planning to recover the area lost last year and also add nearly 40,000 hectares in acreage, taking the total to nearly 200,000 hectares.

"The industry plans to add 40,000 hectares under palm oil plantation this year on account of a good monsoon," said Sanjay Goenka, managing director of 3F Oil Palm Agrotech. "With this, we also expect a correction in the profitability of the industry which fell by 25-30% and had impacted the industry's short-term plans." Goenka, who is also president of Oil Palm Developers and Processors Association (OPDPA), said his firm has chalked out a plan to invest nearly Rs 5,000 crore over the next five years or so to reap the benefits of a favourable economic environment.

Satendra Aggarwal, CEO, Ruchi Soya Industries, said, "We expect to touch one lakh hectares under palm oil plantation in 3-4 years from the current 55,000 hectares. Sensing good opportunity, we have also put a new crushing plant as an extension of an existing one at Peddapuram, in Andhra Pradesh, with a crushing capacity of 45 tonnes per hour, taking our total capacity here to 90 tonnes an hour."