By Kehinde Oluwatayo
A palm oil producer, Mr Godswealth Henry, has decried the increase in destruction of Oil Palm plantations in the country.
Henry, a farmer lamented the development in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
According to him, while Cameroon and Ghana are developing thousands of hectares of new oil palm plantations, Nigeria is busy destroying the same number of hectares of surviving oil palm plantations.
“We producers are being discouraged from producing palm oil in the country.
“Cameroon and Ghana have saturated the Nigerian market with their low quality palm oil, as a result our high quality ones are considered very expensive.
“Nigeria palm oil quality is of high reddish pigmentation unlike the ones from Cameroon and Ghana which have low reddish pigmentation.
“This high reddish pigmentation from wide palm is the real palm oil and is what makes our palm oil superior.
“However, it is difficult to export our palm oil now because it is very expensive compared to that of Cameroon and Ghana.
“Even locally, palm oil producers cannot compete in the market with the ones coming in from Cameroon and Ghana because they come in large quantities and at cheap prices.
“Producers of local palm oil are being forced to sell at par with the ones from Cameroon and Ghana which is far below our production cost,” he said.
Henry said that the volume of palm oil produced in Nigeria now was very low because of scarcity of palm fruits.
He said that the biggest Palm Oil miller in the country assisted by UNIDO could not mill oil to its maximum capacity because of scarcity of palm fruits.
The managing director added that even at the peak period of oil palm production, the mill could not operate steadily for a month.
He said that oil palm plantations were being sold for housing estate development projects, adding that even the oil palm plantation adjudged as the biggest in West African had been sold to a foreign company.
He noted that his company was planning to go to Cameroon and invest in oil palm plantation to ensure steady supply of fruits to its milling plant.