• Monday, July 15, 2024
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FG tasks oil palm stakeholders on yields optimisation, industry growth

FG tasks oil palm stakeholders on yields optimisation, industry growth

The Federal Ministry of Industry Trade & Investment has challenged oil palm stakeholders to take advantage of technology and innovations as part of measures to optimise yields, reduce waste and boost growth in the industry.

Nuru Abba Rimi, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Industry Trade & Investment on Monday at an interactive meeting with oil palm stakeholders in Benin City, Edo State urged them to adopt sustainable best agricultural methods, invest in conservation efforts and ensure that operations are in harmony with the delicate eco system surrounding plantations.

The Permanent Secretary, who was represented by Gambo Garba Magaji, Chief Commercial Officer advised stakeholders to recognise that challenges lie ahead and collectively work towards a vision that “ensure the continued success of our oil Palm Industry “.

The meeting scheduled for six states and put together by the Commodities and Export Department of the Federal Ministry of Trade & Investment in collaboration with National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria form part of on-the-spot assessment of the Oil Palm Industry.

The states are Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Abia, Imo, Edo and Ondo States. Explaining further, Rimi said: “We must recognise the importance of collaboration and knowledge sharing.

“By fostering partnership with research institutions, industry experts and international organisation, we can tap into a wealth of expertise and stay at the forefront of advancement in Oil Palm cultivation”.

Also speaking at the event, Alphonsus Iyang, National President, National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria (NPPAN) advised the government to establish Palm cities across producing states.

Represented by Harrison Okpamen, Vice President (South), Iyang explained that oil palm cities will cluster small holder farmers, adding that they will be using common facilities and “basic social amenities will be provided for them”.

Reinout Impens, Chief Operations Officer, Presco Plc also used the opportunity to brief the audience on the operations of Presco plc.

According to him, within this year, Presco Plc has already produced 20,000t of Crude Palm Oil (CPO) from 85,000t of Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB).

He said Presco Plc is equally in the process of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for a new palm oil mill of 80tph to be commissioned in 2025 as part of measures to further boost CPO output and process the increased production coming from its estates.

Reinout noted that in line with its corporate commitments, the proposed mill will leverage technical innovations to achieve minimal environmental footprint by integrating effluent treatment and renewable energy generation into the design.

He also informed that while Presco does not directly work with smallholders, they do engage in strategic partnerships that impact the entire oil palm sector in Edo state and Nigeria.

The Chief Operations Officer of Presco Plc said: “Through a nearly completed 20-year collaboration with international oil palm breeders and seed producers to field test the next generation of elite planting material is specifically adapted to the African environment and growing conditions.

“Through this partnership, they are equally exploring avenues to assist companies and smallholders to gain access to this material and have launched a pilot program with 200,000 pre-nursery seedlings available for sale right now,” he added.

Also speaking at the event, Steve Ideheenre, Edo State Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security canvassed support for Oil Palm stakeholders in the state.

Speaking at the event attended by various stakeholders including representatives of Bank of Industry (BoI), Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), Leonit Shaji, industrial coordinator, Okomu Oil Palm Plc said the company is working in collaboration with the Edo State Government to develop 4,000h of land for smallholders.

For on-the-spot assessment, the delegation visited City Agro Nigeria Limited and Presco Plc.

At Presco plc, Obaretin estate, the delegation was first taken to the nursery to see the 150,000 seedlings ready for planting this year as well as 170,000 pre-nursery seedlings already in preparation for the 2025 planting.

Presco Plc also briefed the delegation on the 200,000 pre-nursery seedlings available for sale in its Sakponba estate and explained that the relatively high price of these seedlings reflects the amount of international research that has gone into the breeding and selection efforts as well as the high exchange rate and clearing and permit charges impacting the importation costs.

The tour ended at the Presco Quality Control and Assurance laboratory where all the different products and by-products were displayed and explained.

From primary extraction products (crude palm oil, palm kernel oil and palm kernel cake) through valorized waste products (shells and fibre for boiler biomass, empty fruit bunches and solid sludge for field applications, Palm Oil Mill Effluent for biogas production), and ending at the refined products (RBDPO, PFAD, Stearin and Olein).