The Edo State Government has called for regional collaboration to drive investment into sustainable oil palm production in Nigeria, as part of strategies to lead the country’s industrialisation drive. Managing Director of the Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO), Mr. Kelvin Uwaibi made the submission during the Central Bank of Nigeria Oil Palm Stakeholders’ Engagement session held recently in Asaba, Delta State. While sharing the Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP) success story, Uwaibi said Edo, Ondo and Delta States can collaborate with the Central Bank of Nigeria to create a sustainable oil palm production belt, which could lead to development of the crop and other tree crops in Nigeria. He added that stakeholders like the Federal Ministries of Industry, Trade and Investment and Agriculture and the Bankers’ Committee are key in driving the plan of creating a national policy for oil palm development.
According to him, “the role of the Bankers’ Committee is critical to the oil palm development initiative. CBN must approach other banks to expand the Edo success story to other states. Let the Bankers’ Committee lead a synergy similar to what obtained during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic to stimulate the development of tree crops in Nigeria. “The Russian-Ukraine war should give us an insight on why we must act fast. There is food crisis everywhere. We have over 200 million Nigerians; we must do something to sustain ourselves internally outside export” While presenting a paper on “State Government and Private Sector Partnership on Oil Palm Development-Lessons from Edo State”, the Coordinator of the Edo State Oil Palm Programme, Mr. Churchill Oboh, noted that Edo State has allocated about 62,500 hectares of land to oil palm investors in the state. He urged neighbouring states like Ondo and Delta to either learn or improve on the Edo experience and come up with sustainable ways of ensuring land availability that will be properly put to use, thereby making Nigeria self-sufficient in oil palm production.
Oboh said, “I urge the CBN to look critically into the deliberations here today because funding is very critical in the oil palm business. CBN should also look into a process of financial support to oil palm investment in Nigeria.” Stakeholders at the event also include representatives of the Governors of Edo, Delta and Ondo States; the IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative, Netherland, the Smallholders Farmers and big-players in the oil palm industry.