The Edo State government has called for regional collaboration to drive investment in sustainable oil palm production in Nigeria as part of strategies to boost the country’s industrialisation.
Kelvin Uwaibi, managing director, Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO), made the call during the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) oil palm stakeholders’ engagement recently in Asaba, Delta State.
While sharing the Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP) success story, Uwaibi said Edo, Ondo and Delta States can collaborate with the CBN to create a sustainable oil palm production belt, which could lead to the development of the crop and other tree crops in Nigeria.
He added that stakeholders like the federal ministries of industry, trade and investment and agriculture and the bankers’ committee were critical in driving a national policy for oil palm development.
According to him, “the role of the bankers’ committee is crucial to the oil palm development initiative. He said the CBN should approach other banks to replicate the Edo success story in other states.
“Let the bankers’ committee lead a synergy similar to what obtained during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic to stimulate the development of tree crops in Nigeria.
“The Russian-Ukraine war should give us an insight on why we must act fast. There is a food crisis. We have over 200 million Nigerians; we must do something to sustain ourselves internally outside export”
Churchill Oboh, the coordinator of the Edo state oil palm programme, who presented a paper on “state government and private sector partnership on oil palm development-Lessons from Edo State,” disclosed that the state government has allocated about 62,500 hectares of land to oil palm investors in the state.
He urged neighbouring states like Ondo and Delta to either learn or improve on the Edo experience and come up with sustainable ways of ensuring land availability that will be properly put to use, thereby making Nigeria self-sufficient in oil palm production.
Oboh said, “I urge the CBN to look critically into the deliberations here today because funding is very critical in the oil palm business. CBN should also look into a process of financial support to oil palm investment in Nigeria,” he added.