“Within the next 3-5 years, the global share of the country’s oil palm production would more than double. Our ultimate vision is to overtake Thailand and Columbia to become the 3rd largest producer over the next few years.”
Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, expressed this hope at a stakeholder meeting on Nigeria’s Palm Oil sector Value Chain in Abuja.
He regretted that despite the availability of over 3 million hectares of farmland for palm oil cultivation, production remains low at close to 2 tonnes per hectare, relative to a global benchmark of 25 tonnes per hectare.
“This is as a result of the maturation of existing palm trees, as some of these trees were planted in the ’’50s as well as low investment in replanting high yielding palm oil seeds.
As some of you may know, the usual life cycle for optimum palm production is 25 years,” he said.
He noted that Nigeria, which was once a leading palm oil producer in late ’’50s and ’60s has slumped to the fifth position among palm oil producer countries.
Also, the country has missed the opportunity to earn about $10 billion from palm oil export if it had sustained and improved on production and also revealed that Nigeria currently spends about $500 million on palm oil import to meet local demand.
He recalled that Nigeria then was controlling close to 40 percent of the global market share, but has crashed to 5th among leading producers of palm oil producing barely 3 percent of the global supply of palm oil, with an estimated production of 800,000 metric tonnes MT of palm oil.
This is against countries like Malaysia and Indonesia which produces 25million and 41 million tonnes of palm oil respectively.
Emefiele said that apart from dropping in production capacity, Nigeria has also become a net importer of palm oil, importing between 400,000 – 600,000 MT of palm oil in order to meet local demand for this commodity.