People for Animals (PFA), Manipur on Wednesday cautioned of ‘harmful effects of oil palm cultivation’ on the environment and the regional endangered wildlife, concerning the National Mission on Edible Oil, Oil Palm (NMEO-OP).
In a statement issued by its managing trustee L Biswajeet Meitei, PFA Manipur stated that although the NMEO-OP will provide many benefits to the farmers, its negative effects should be considered. With the NMEO-OP, the Government of India plans to establish 6.5 lakh hectares of oil palm cultivation in Northeast India and the Andaman Nicobar Islands, it stated.
According to ICAR Indian institute of Oil Palm Research, only 143 oil trees can be planted in one hectare of land, so a huge portion of land would be required in order to plant oil trees to meet commercial demands, it continued. A oil tree requires 230 litres of water a day in order to grow healthily, it also added.
Due to uncontrolled oil palm cultivation, many countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Colombia, Thailand and Nigeria are suffering from environmental degradation and ecological unbalance, it stated. It mentioned that the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) stated that oil palm cultivation poses a threat to 54 per cent of mammals and 64 per cent of birds in the region.
It recalled that in 2002 the Supreme Court had banned oil palm cultivation in Andaman Nicobar Islands owing to its harmful effects on the environment and the regional wildlife. The Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) had even advised against palm oil cultivation in biodiversity rich regions, it added. And as Manipur is a biodiversity rich region, oil palm cultivation should be practiced with caution and strict monitoring, it added.
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