Palm oil growers in Nigeria have chat a roadmap to stop importation by boosting local production and create international market opportunities for foreign exchange.
To this end, Stakeholders under the aegis of Oil Palm Growers Association of Nigeria (OPGAN), converged on the Nigeria Institute for oil Palm Research (NIFOR) in Benin at the weekend, to brainstorm and proffer solutions to the dwindling fortune of the oil palm sector in Nigeria.
In a remark, OPGAN, Mr Joe Onyiuke, the National President of the association, revealed at the town hall meeting support from the federal Government and mashall plans on how to revive the oil palm sector.
“We are in NIFOR today to strategize on the way forward on the ANCHOR Borrower’s Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“More importantly to Commission our new liaison office in NIFOR which is key to us as oil palm farmers.
“With this office our farmers will be able to get all the benefits and training required for the cultivation of oil palm.
“You can see that we have representative of the CBN, Commercial banks and insurance companies here.
“To discuss the terms and conditions that is required to make us eligible to participate in the ANCHOR Borrower’s programme of the CBN,” he said.
Also speaking, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emiefele, said the CBN was committed to reviving the oil palm sector to stop importation.
Emiefele, represented by Mr. Anthony Ufechukwu, the Special Adviser on Development Finance to the Governor, said: “The CBN is very emphatic about reviving the oil palm sector. In doing this, we started by reaching out to large companies like Presco, Okomu and others.
“With a view to ensuring that they plant and assist small scale farmers but we are not getting the results.
“So we are going down to the roots to interact with small scale farmers who cultivate about one to five hectares to have a strong union to promote themselves in the oil palm industry.
“I know that OPGAN group consist of persons who provide more than 90 percent of oil palm consumed in households in Nigeria,” he said.
He noted that the farmers under a good organisation, the CBN would be able to fund them.
According to him, part of the package is that the farmers would be insured. We expect that in 10 years from now, OPGAN will be self sustaining.
Dr Peter Osagiede, the Edo Chairman of OPGAN, urged all its members to buy improved seedlings from NIFOR to guarantee increased production.
“We are here today to open an office where we would be liaising with NIFOR for improved seedlings.
“From today we are going back to our farms to produce oil palm for local consumption and to also earn foreign exchange,” he said.
Earlier, the Executive Director of NIFOR, Celestine Ikuenobe welcome the farmers to the Edo and NIFOR.
Ikuenobe, assured the farmers that the mandate of the institute was to transfer knowledge to farmers and create national wealth.
He explained that the value chain in oil palm was enormous, adding that farmers in the past, have failed to take advantage of its improved seedlings in NIFOR.
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