By Kehinde Adejumo
One thing that is paramount in the Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu led administration in Ondo State is how to galvanize the state to greatness. In order to achieve this, the state government has invested billions of naira in Agriculture in the state.
When this administration came on board, Arakunrin Akeredolu, SAN, promised the people of the state, especially the youth of jobs creation through agriculture. True to his words, in less than two years of his administration, several billions of naira had been distributed to farmers’ cooperative societies to boost agriculture and several metrics tonnes of fertilizer had been distributed to farmers in the state for enhancement of farming.
According to the Governor, the state is looking forward to seeing a thriving oil palm production before the end of this year, and that the state is working tirelessly at exploring the abundant natural resources of the state for the benefit of the masses and in no distant time, oil palm would become a veritable source of income in the state.
He added that oil palm value chains are ventures which the state’s economy can lean on. Araromi-Ayesan Oil Palm Plantation is one of the plantations in the state where Ondo State Government has eleven percent share right, Araromi-Obu housed the oil palm company which was established by the then Western Nigeria Government in 1953 under the leadership of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. The company is saddled with the responsibility of producing oil palm in commercial quantity.
The company was incorporated in Nigeria as private limited company in September, 1990 as Araromi-Ayesan Oil Palm Estate. In 1993, the company changed its name to Araromi-Ayesan Oil Palm PLC .
The Managing Director /Chief Executive Officer, Mr Babatunde Balogun Kuku while speaking With Special Focus thanked Governor Akeredolu for his support for the company, saying that the company has employed over 500 workers in less than two years of the Akeredolu-led administration, in line with his administration’s commitment to creating employment through agriculture.
The MD/CEO said due to the rapid increase in world population and the demand for dietary oil coupled with the biofuel movement, oil palm cultivation will continue to expand in order to meet the increasing global demands for its vegetable oil.
He said rapid expansion of the industry based in tropical Asia, Africa and America present many opportunities.
He added that the demand for oil palm has been on the increase due to population growth that is put at 3%annually which has put the demand gap at about 750,000 metric tonnes annually. The gap is being closed through importation which has put pressure on the nation’s foreign reserve .
With the prospect of the company to increase the internally generated revenue of the state, he pleaded with the state government to inject more money into the company promising that in no distant future, the company will start to export its products.
Also speaking, the company Chairman, Prince Adetola Adedeji who said the company is doing tremendously well added that the company’s physical assets over the years has increased to N1.737billion, while the huge investments of the company had impacted positively on operation.
Adedeji said due to huge success that the company have under the Akeredolu led administration, the company had approached the state government for the acquisition of over 10,000 hectares of land and if granted and fully utilized would raise the company’s output to 40,000metric tonnes of special palm oil annually which means that more people will be employed in the company.
He pleaded with the state government to take up their 11% share right to pump more money into the company assuring the government that its investment in the company will generate more revenue for the state .
The immediate past chairman of the company, Barr. Femi Okuniyi expressed happiness that the company is making progress and has ensured that it does everything as stipulated under the law, saying that the benefits of the company to the state cannot be over-emphasised.
One of the shareholders, Mr Williams Adebayo commended the Board of Directors for a job well done, while recommending that the company should recapitalise and get more fund. He thanked the present administration for its cooperation and pleaded with the government to do more.
He called on the other shareholders to invest more funds into the company, stressing that the government alone can not do it. The Ajobu of Araromi – Obu, HRM Oba Aderemi Adelola commended the company for what he called a great improvement compared to previous years. He thanked the company for its contributions to the development of the community while pledging the community’s support for the growth of the company.