Plantation Owners Forum of Nigeria (POFON) has decried current mass importation of crude palm oil (CPO) into the country by big-time manufacturers who use palm oil in their production process, saying it amounts to dumping and threat to the nation’s Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA).
In a communiqué it issued at the end of its recent meeting in Benin City, the Edo State capital, POFON said it had taken official notice of the announcement by PZ-Cussons that it had commenced trading in imported crude palm oil in Nigeria.
“We are also aware of other companies like Olam, BUA and De United that are trading in imported CPO and have informed the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development about the threat that mass importation and dumping of CPO poses to the Agricultural Transformation Agenda,” it said.
The plantation owners present at the meeting included Presco plc, Okomu Oil Palm Company plc, A & Hatman Ltd, IMC Ltd, Real Plantations Ltd, JB Farms Ltd, Dansa Agro Plantation Ltd., Eyop Industries Ltd., Biase Ltd., and Aden River Ltd. In attendance were representatives from NIFOR and smallholders, represented by the chairman of Edo State Oil Palm Growers Association of Nigeria (OPGAN).
POFON argued that from the January 2013 level, the local CPO prices had dropped by 25-30 percent in May 2013.
“Currently, prices are at incredibly low levels, thus threatening the profitability of oil palm businesses at both large-scale and smallholder levels,” it noted.
According to the POFON, it is disturbed by reports of concession and waivers being granted to traders to import CPO and refined products in spite of the 35 percent tariff and the ban on the respective commodities, and in flagrant disregards to the assurances given by Mr. President in his budget speech not to grant concession and waivers to import commodities that we have the capacity to produce in the country.
“Both Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment and Federal Ministry of Finance have been implicated in granting concession and waivers to CPO importers. This practice undermines the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of this administration. POFON demands that it be stopped forthwith,” according to the release.