Godrej Agrovet plans big for oil palm in Northeast

Priyanka Chakrabarty

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Guwahati: Indian palm oil giant Godrej Agrovet is on its way to extending palm acreages in Assam and the northeast and plans offices in five of the eight states.

The focus, however, is expected on Assam as it already has an office in Silchar and it aspires more acreage for palm oil plantation to reach its target of 34,250 hectares allocated by Assam government. Its allocated area is in the Barak valley’s Hailakandi, Karimganj and Cachar districts, as per government data.

One can expect oil palm seeds from southeast Asia to be planted in Assam as in last week of September, Godrej Agrovet signed a memorandum with Malaysian company Sime Darby Plantation Berhad to import high-quality oil palm seeds.

In the next fiscal (2024-25), SDP will provide India with 1.3 million germinated seeds, sourced from its operations in three countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea.

Godrej will have offices in Assam, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Tripura, says a source. In fact, the company has already begun recruiting more people and currently has nearly  50 people working in the region. It is opening, what it terms “Samadhan Centres” the single-window for fertilizer, equipment and know-how for the oil palm farmer.

With 65,000 hectares under it for oil palm cultivation, Godrej Agrovet is the largest player in India.

“We are planning for Northeast in a big way and have increased staff strength to double digits,” a source associated with Godrej Agrovet told Business North East. These new field-level recruits will work with farmers across the states, providing know-how and technical support.

Godrej is not alone in Assam as four of ten bidders were allotted land for setting up palm oil mills in the state. Patanjali Foods (60,300 ha), KE Cultivation (25,650 ha) from Assam, and Hyderabad-headquartered 3F Oil Palm Agrotech (23,550) which already has offices in Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.

Currently, the total oil palm area in the northeast is 38,999 hectare of which Assam has only 1500 hectare under oil palm cultivation of which 100 hectares have been cultivated in 2023, according to sources. Godrej aims to have a good share in the upcoming acreages.

Godrej Agrovet Limited had already signed Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with the state governments of Assam, Tripura Manipur, and Nagaland for the development and promotion of oil palm cultivation under the National Mission on Edible Oils-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) scheme.

What is important is that Assam government has identified around 3.7 lakh hectare as potential area for oil palm cultivation and its interim target is to have 2 lakh hectares under oil palm cultivation, Business North East has learnt.

The focus areas of Assam are across 18 districts and divided into six zones, Godrej falling under Zone-6.

The companies are mandated to bring up processing units in their zones, with one factory allowed per zone.

In accordance with an agreed MoU, Assam government has allocated zones to Godrej Agrovet also.

As the government of India aims 1.12m tonne crude palm oil production by end of fiscal 2025-26.

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Priyanka Chakrabarty