Oil palm is the highest edible oil yielding plant, with a per hectare yield of 4 to 5 tons of crude palm oil as against a yield of 0.6 to 1 ton per hectare for Indian traditional oil crops such as Ground Nut, Gingelly, Sunflower, Cocoa Nut, Castor etc.
Government started encouraging Palm Oil crop in India during 1980s with the objective of attaining self-sustenance in edible oil production and reduce foreign exchange spending for import of edible oil in huge quantities.
Initially, the Government identified 10 lakh hectares of land for Palm Oil cultivation which has now expanded to more than 15 lakh hectares spanning across various Southern and North Eastern States of India.
Andhra Pradesh is the major Oil Palm growing State in India with a production capacity of 20 lakh tons while other States such as Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Assam, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh etc. together produce another 5 lakh tons.
More than two lakh farmers are involved in Oil Palm cultivation in Andhra Pradesh itself while two lakh more farmers are estimated to cultivate the crop in other parts of India.