The Indian government is planning to triple palm oil production by 2030 as part of the country’s national palm mission, according to a Financial Express report.

As part of the plan, the aim was to increase domestic palm oil production from its current level of 0.35M tonnes to 1M tonnes by 2030 by increasing planted area by at least 0.1M ha/year until then, a leading industry official was quoted as saying in the 4 October report.

“In the 2023 financial year (FY), 42,000ha of new oil palm plantation was added while in the current fiscal year, at least 70,000ha of plantation is likely to be added,” Sougata Niyogi, head of the palm oil division at Godrej Agrovet Ltd (GAVL) – which owns a third of total palm plantation in the country – told Financial Express.

The country was expected to add 0.1M ha of additional plantation in FY25, Niyogi added.

According to an agriculture ministry official, the plan is to increase total area under palm by several companies including Godrej Agrovet, Patanjali Food and 3F Oil Palm Agrotech to 0.65M ha by 2030 from the current level of 0.3M ha.

“While the domestic production of palm oil is likely to increase to 1M tonnes by 2030, because of the projected rise in annual domestic consumption of edible oil from the current level of 24M tonnes to 30M tonnes by 2030, the country’s import dependence would continue,” an official with a palm oil processor was quoted as saying.

India currently imports around 14M tonnes of edible oil and in the current oil year (October-September), imports are expected to reach a record 17M tonnes due to a sharp drop in global prices of palm, soyabean and sunflower oil, according to the report. Around 8M tonnes of palm oil are imported from Indonesia and Malaysia, while other oils, such as soyabean and sunflower, are transported from Argentina, Brazil, Ukraine and Russia.

India’s national oil palm mission was launched in August 2021.

“Through bringing in more area under palm plantation in the next three years - especially in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Assam, Tripura and Mizoram - we are aiming to boost domestic output and reduce import dependence,” an official was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, in the week before the Financial Express report, GAVL announced it would be setting up an integrated palm oil complex in Khammam district Telangana. The company was aiming to increase planted area from the current 65,000 ha by 0.12M ha by 2027, the report said.

India currently produces about 44% of its domestic edible oil consumption requirement, according to the Financial Express report. Other domestically-produced oils include mustard, soyabean and groundnut, with a 40%, 24% and 7% share respectively. Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala are the major oil palm growing Indian states, accounting for 98% of total production.