In the wake of the ban on oil palm export by Indonesia, world’s leading producer of the produce, Edo State Oil Palm Programme, which has seen to the development of about 62,000 hectares of oil palm plantation in the state by private investors, may prove to be Nigeria’s only hope of bridging the global supply gap. Edo State is already home to two of the biggest oil palm companies in Nigeria – Okomu Plc and Presco Plc, but Governor Obaseki push for more investment led to the injection of $531.2m by investors to develop greenfield oil palm projects across various locations in the state.
These projects include developments by Agro-allied Resources and Processing Nigeria Limited (ARPN), with a 12,000ha plantation; Saro Oil Palm with over 10,000ha integrated farm and Fayus, with 5,000 ha farm, among others. Governor Obaseki, who launched the ESOPP in 2019, said the state oil palm programme was created to provide opportunities for large, medium and small investors in the oil palm sub-sector. He added that 62,000 hectares of land had been allocated to investors under the programme, noting that “the programme is expected to create more than 200,000 jobs across the oil palm value chain and would add more than 1,000,000 metric tonnes to local production of oil palm by 2030.”
Felix Nwabuko, the managing director of Presco Plc said the increased investment by other private investors would afford the state the opportunity to take advantage of the expected gap to fast track growth in the state and increase productivity. The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, ARPN, Mr. Madhukar Khetan, said the company will start harvesting fruits from the plantation in 2024, noting that the feat would be a record in Nigeria as it commenced operations in 2019.