Oil Palm production: Ondo partners Dutch
By Kehinde Oluwatayo
Ondo State Government has expressed its readiness to partner with IDH, a Dutch organisation in developing the oil palm landscape to boost production in the state.
Speaking with The Hope shortly after a stakeholders meeting, the Senior Special Assistant to the state Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on Agriculture and Agribusiness, Pastor Akin Olotu, said it is one of the dividends of Mr Governor’s efforts to transform the state economy with emphasis on agricultural sector
His words: “The meeting was with stakeholders, essentially members of the National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria, oil palm processors, a consultant from Federal University of Technology Akure, Prof Oguntade and the IDH team led by Dr Chris Okafor.
“It is about assisting Ondo State to boost oil palm value chain. And their condition is that it must be done in an environmentally friendly way. This must not disrupt the natural ecosystem. Also it must be a win- win situation.
“What that implies is that anywhere they have their intervention, every stakeholder must be carried along, while their interest must not be jeopardized. The rural community people, ecosystem there, the smallholder farmers, the processors and everybody involved in the value chain.
“From our presentation, we told them what the state government has done so far. Part of what we told them include provision of 120,000hectares of farm land under the CBN Oil Palm Development Initiative. We also told them that today, we have a lot of investors, the Tropical Oil Palm Estate, Bambi Oil, Araromi Ayesan and Ore Irele are talking of expansion and the 6,000 hectares given to NPPAN, Ondo state chapter”.
Olotu who said the state had set the agenda that would enable the programme take off in January 2020, noted that an action plan would have been drawn before September which will involve all stakeholders.
According to him, there is advertisement already for consultants and there would be external and internal consultants adding that IDH will work on that.
Speaking on the benefits of the partnership to the state, Olotu said though it would not put money directly in the purse of the state government, its improvement in the sector will boost the state IGR, create employment and reduce crime in the state among others.
“And we told them that we are more than ready and that was their conclusion, Dr Okafor said he is convinced that Ondo State is the right place to kick start the programme. But right now, they are starting with Ondo and Edo States.
“At the close of the meeting, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education emphasised that the state government will cooperate and do everything possible to make the programme a success,” he explained.
The leader of IDH team, Dr Chris Okafor said the aim was to promote climate smart oil palm production in Nigeria, as well as improve the livelihood of actors.
The initial step is to understand the oil palm landscape to know who are the stakeholders, who are involved in the value chain, where oil palm is grown among others. And that with the data, stakeholders can agree on a roadmap for developing oil palm economy in the state.
The Chairman of Abbis farm and SigRina Agro Processing Industry in the state, Engr. Adejo, described the meeting as a good one adding that farmers especially smallholders will benefit a lot since it will cut across the value chain.
The Chief Executive Officer of Okitipupa Oil Palm Plc, Mr Taiwo Adewole noted that the programme will be of immense benefit to both big and small holder farmers and that it would translate to serious economic empowerment.
In attendance were Chairman of National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria, Ondo State chapter, Mr Bolarinwa Adetula, a consultant from FUTA, Prof Adegboyega Oguntade of the department of agriculture and resource economics among others.