Tractor convoys trundled thousands of oil palm seedlings to new homes on farms across southeastern India this month, as the world's top importer of edible oil rolls out an ambitious $1.5-billion plan to boost output. Record prices of palm, and new government promises of payouts even if Indian prices slump, are driving the effort, which aims to lift domestic output sharply within a decade from a tiny level now. "The return on oil palm will at least be double that of rice and banana, and it is far less labour-intensive," said B. Brahmaiah, one of the hundreds of farmers nationwide who are racing to switch from the usual staple crops, such as rice.
It's a high-risk proposition, but strong performance is luring new takers.
IBM's Food Trust network will help coffee and cocoa farmers and buyers verify information on their supply chains.