Edo Explores Partnership with Foreign Groups to Propel Agro Sector Growth



The Edo State Government yesterday, revealed that it was making substantial strides towards propelling its agro-sector economy to new heights, focusing on heightened productivity and sustainable practices.

It said the commitment had garnered the attention and support of vital development partners, all aligned with the state’s core objective of cultivating the sector’s growth while ensuring its enduring viability on the global stage.

The Edo government stated this during a high-level meeting held in Benin City, the state capital, adding that key representatives from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), British High Commission Abuja, and Propcom+ gathered to deliberate on the state’s visionary agenda.

The Managing Director of Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO), Kelvin Uwaibi, who unveiled the state’s strategic partnership with international development allies on behalf of Governor Godwin Obaseki, noted that the strategic alliance was, “aimed to beckon investments, particularly in the flourishing oil palm value chain and other vital commodities, ultimately diversifying the state’s revenue streams.”

Uwaibi, who underlined the state’s multifaceted approach to the sector, spotlighting oil palm as a linchpin, however, added that Edo State recognises the strategic imperative of diversification, incorporating additional commodities like cocoa, rubber and cassava.

Other crop products, he further said like maize and rice were also being considered by the government in a move geared towards empowering smallholder farmers, facilitating quicker returns on their investments while prioritising sustainability over mere business profitability.

Responding to inquiries regarding investor reception to The Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) stipulations for oil palm ventures and the related challenges, Uwaibi expressed optimism about burgeoning support from partners.

He highlighted the potential of a dynamic partnership with Propcom+ aimed at improving robust aftercare services to nurture investors post-engagement. Uwaibi underscored the pivotal role of a comprehensive corporate social responsibility guideline, envisioning Edo State as a pioneering model for sustainable business practices.

Leading the FCDO delegation was Ms Martine Sobey, the Climate Change and Nature Team Leader at the British High Commission in Abuja.

Sobey in a remark, elucidated the delegation’s purpose in visiting Edo State, highlighting their objective to bolster the agro-economy and value chain for enhanced productivity and climate resilience through sustainable forest management, adding that this multifaceted approach underscores FCDO’s broader engagement across Nigeria.

On his part, the Team lead of the Edo Oil Palm Programme, Mr Churchill Oboh, elaborated on the collaborative efforts between investors and ESOPP to inculcate optimal practices for sustainable oil palm cultivation.

He noted ongoing training initiatives to empower smallholder farmers with the knowledge and skills requisite for sustainable oil palm cultivation.

Oboh also underscored the broader purview of the Africa Sustainable Commodities Initiative (ASCI) in encouraging sustainable production across various commodities, with oil palm’s prominence standing out prominently in Edo State’s agricultural landscape.

Central to the discussion of sustainable production in the agro sector were micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs), particularly smallholder farmers.