At the time of serious environmental threats, the Patanjali group plans to start palm oil plantations in Meghalaya and other Northeastern states in a big way. Many ecologists have fagged environmental threats from that plantations.
The world’s only 5% vegetable oil farmland is used for palm plantations, palm cultivation produces 38% of the world’s total vegetable oil supply. Despite the highest number of plantations, palm oil cultivation has been criticized for its impact on the natural environment, including deforestation, loss of natural habitats, and greenhouse gas emissions. Which have threatened critically endangered species, such as the orangutan and Sumatran tiger.
Environmental groups such as ‘Greenpeace’and ‘Friends of the Earth’ oppose the use of palm oil biofuels, claiming that the deforestation caused by oil palm plantations is more damaging for the climate than the benefits gained by switching to biofuel and using the palms as carbon sinks.
A 2018 study by the ‘International Union for Conservation of Nature’ concluded that palm oil is “here to stay” due to its higher productivity compared with many other vegetable oils. The IUCN maintains that replacing palm oil with other vegetable oils would necessitate greater amounts of agricultural land, negatively affecting biodiversity. The IUCN advocates better practices in the palm oil industry, including the prevention of plantations from expanding into forested regions and creating a demand for certified and sustainable palm oil products.
In 2019 the ‘Rainforest Action Network ‘surveyed eight global brands involved in palm oil extraction in the Leuser Ecosystem, and said that none was performing adequately in avoiding ” conflict palm oil”. Many of the companies told the Guardian they were working to improve their performance. A WWF scorecard rated only 15 out of 173 companies as performing well.
In 2020 a study by ‘Chain Reaction Research’ concluded that NDPE policies cover 83% of palm oil refineries. NDPE policies are according to the Chain Reaction Research the most effective private mechanism to cut the direct link with deforestation, due to the economic leverage refineries have over palm oil growers.
The plantation planning process of Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali group took over two years ago. They have already done field surveys for the palm oil plantations. In an ecological way, there is an overwhelming consensus that oil palm is unmitigatedly detrimental. The expansion of oil palm is one of the largest drivers of the loss of virgin forest in Southeast Asia.
Baba Ramdev told the media on Monday that, the groundwork has been done and the projects can be started anytime. India recently has patches of palm oil plantations in Assam, Tripura, West Bengal, the Andamans, Gujrat, Goa, Andhra, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra. For Oil Palm Area Expansion 300 crore has been budgeted to expand oil palm cultivation in 12 states including those in the Northeast over five years.