Solidaridad, an International Non-Governmental Organisatin (INGO), has declared that it will assist Nigeria to recover lost grounds in palm oil production by re-positioning the country to become a major player in the global oil palm market.
The Solidaridad’s Programme Manager for Oil Palm in Nigeria, Kenechukwu Onukwube, noted that the importance of improved palm oil production in Nigeria was underscored by the global market size of the commodity, which is estimated at $62 billion.
He noted that palm oil production has the capacity to lift millions of rural poor out of poverty and contribute to attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Onukwube said: “Nigeria is currently the biggest loser in palm oil business. The country is unable to provide adequate quantity required domestically. It also loses foreign exchange as a result of importation of oil as well as potential revenue loss that would have been earned if vast area of land will be utilised in sustainable ways.’’
He made these remarks recently during a two-day national stakeholders’ forum in Abuja, that brought together participants from the Federal Ministries of Agriculture, Environment, Commerce and Industry, as well as Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) from the four states of Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Enugu, and Akwa-Ibom, where National Initiatives for Sustainable and Climate Smart Oil Palm Smallholders (NISCOPS) is being implemented. Also present were: CSOs, research institutes, and investors in the oil palm sector. The stakeholders developed the work plan indicators for implementation of NISCOPS.
He, however, emphasised the need to empower smallholder farmers, saying that they remained key players in the oil palm sector.