BusinessDay

Okomu finalising plans to partner Edo State on Job creation, output expansion

Okomu Oil Palm Plc has intensified efforts to enhance a collaborative arrangement with Edo State Government in the agricultural industry in a bid to create employment opportunities and ramp up agricultural output, the company has said.

In a statement filed with the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the palm oil maker noted that the partnership would involve local communities and indigenous farmers.

Okomu stated that it remained committed to working with all relevant bodies in the training and support of aspiring youths in positive and productive direction in line with the spirit of Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO).

The company also disclosed plans to cultivate 5, 000 hectares oil palm in Edo state, adding that its involvement in the development of Roundtable  on Sustainable Oil Palm (RSPO) is directed towards creating a more sustainable oil palm growth and practice.

Palm oil makers are currently facing tough times evident in their mid-year earnings numbers which showed net income tumbled to a three-year low on slump in revenue.

Okomu along with other palm oil makers benefited from the ban on foreign exchange for palm oil by Central Bank of Nigeria in 2015 when paucity in dollar bolstered local demand for the agro-product.

But now the benefits have disappeared in thin airs. Also, their unimpressive performance is equally spurred by increased importation of Crude Oil Palm on the back of improved dollar liquidity while porous borders are also taking toll.

Analysts say high cost of production amid infrastructural deficiencies and logistic challenges mean higher prices which have rendered local palm oil uncompetitive and become a boon for smugglers.

There may be no positive triggers in sight for local players as domestic demand is still low even as fiscal authorities are yet to take concrete steps to control the borders.

 

Israel Odubola

 

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