28 Delta communities provide 33,000ha of land for CBN oil palm initiative

Delta State government has demonstrated its commitment to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Oil Palm Development Initiative (CBN/OPDI) as 28 communities in the state have provided land for the programme. This involves a total area covering about 33,000 hectares of land.

Julius Egbedi, state commissioner for agriculture and natural resources, at a stakeholders meeting of CBN/OPDI held in Asaba, explained that the state government keyed into the initiative to increase wealth and to promote economic growth in the state.

Egbedi said the initiative was geared towards creating an oil palm belt in the country and to revive the dwindling fortune of the commodity.

The commissioner said the objective of the programme, which prompted the interest of the state government, was to increase domestic production of oil palm through the efforts of individuals, communities and investors.

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He explained that the effect of the initiative would be to meet local demand for oil palm, palm kernel oil, hydrogenated fat and to stamp out the importation of the items and create employment and wealth in the state.

He revealed that the CBN OPDI had planned to establish 1,200,000 hectares of oil palm plantations between 2019 and 2023, and when properly implemented would move the country from being the fifth position to the third position in the World chart within the short term.

“The time to begin the expansion of the oil palm sector is now. The accelerated production of oil palm will reduce poverty in our communities. Move the country’s overdependence crude oil economy and promote agriculture,” he stated.

On his part, Austin Oghoro, permanent secretary of the ministry, stated that in order to ensure farmers in the state participated in the programme, the ministry had directed that efforts be put in place to ensure compliance with the roundtable on sustainable oil palm protocol in the programme.

Thus, Oghoro said 28 communities in the state had provided land for the programme, adding that the total area covered was about 33,000 hectares of land.

He also revealed that farmers would have loan given to them at a single digit interest rate that would be for a period of four years, and urged interested farmers in the state to make good use of the opportunity provided by the initiative to invest in the oil palm business.

A representative of the CBN, Benedict Akpo, in his speech, harped on the essence of the programme, saying it would ensure food security, and therefore sued for the cooperation of the farmers and communities with a view to eliminating the importation of palm oil.

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