Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, has made a case for the revival of the Nigerian Institute of Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) to strengthen the country’s capacity to produce quality, high-yielding seedlings and boost oil palm production.
Governor Obaseki made the case during a meeting in Abuja between Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele, and governors of states in oil palm production belt of the country.
He said the revival of NIFOR would improve investment in research and production of quality oil palm seeds.
Noting that the state government has extended support to oil palm production companies in the state to boost production, the governor said Edo was currently cultivating oil palm on about 70,000 hectares of land.
Nigeria intends to become the third largest producer of oil palm in the world ahead of Thailand and Columbia, and will extend support to states to realise the plan, the CBN governor said.
According to Emefiele, “As some of you may know, the usual life cycle for optimum palm production is 25 years. If we had kept pace with our peers in supporting improved cultivation of palm oil, at the current global market price of $600 per tonne and an assumed production level of 16 million tonnes, Nigeria could have generated close to $10 billion worth of foreign exchange from palm oil.
“This analysis does not take into consideration the amount of jobs that could have been created in our rural communities from large scale and small holder developments.”
The CBN’s package to ensure Nigeria records accelerated jump in oil palm production include using part of the bank’s Anchor Borrower Programme (ABP) to grant loans at 9 percent interest rate and work with off-takers, he said.
“On our part, the ABP and our Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS), the CBN will work with large corporate stakeholders and small-holder farmers to ensure availability of quality seeds for this year’s planting season and agro-chemicals in order to enable improved cultivation of oil palm,” he said.