Stakeholders at the just concluded First International/Palm Produce Conference (IPPC) urged Federal Government to sustain the ban on importation of vegetable oil in Nigeria in order to improve the production, processing and marketing of oil palm oil along the entire value chain.
This was one of the decisions reached at the 3-day 1st International Palm Produce Conference (IPPC) jointly organized by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with the National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria (NPPAN) from 2nd – 4th December, 2013 at the Le-Meridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, with the theme “Investment in Oil Palm and its Derivatives: A Panacea for African Economic Growth and Sustenance”.
The conference noted that the oil palm industry has suffered neglect over the years due to over dependence on crude oil revenue, inadequate improved planting materials and low investment in large commercial farms.
The Participants urged the Federal Government to sustain the initiatives in the Transformation Agenda of the present administration, especially the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA), National Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), and the Nigerian Agric-Business and Agro-Industry Development Initiative (NAADI).
Among other decision reached at the conference were as follows;
i) The conference appealed to the State and Local Governments to make land available to oil palm farmers without many encumbrances.
ii) Adequate infrastructure should be provided in the rural areas to encourage youths who would want to take to farming as a business.
iii) Government should sustain the ban on importation of vegetable oil, intensify monitoring and maintain the 35% duty on importation of Crude Palm Oil.
iv) Farmers and farmer groups in the palm oil sub sector should be encouraged to be properly registered as Co-operative Groups to enable them benefit from the on-going NIRSAL credit facility of the Federal Government.
v) The conference appealed to Banks to de-emphasize the requirement for collaterals from farmers seeking loans from them since the farmlands and the farmers themselves are enough collateral.
vi) Participants emphasized the need to adequately fund NIFOR and strengthen its seed production capacity to enable it continue to produce and deliver improved Tenera Sprouted nuts/seedlings to farmers.
vii) Need for adequate advocacy/sensitization by NAFDAC and other regulatory institutions to discourage adulteration of Crude Palm Oil (CPO) by bulk marketers and encourage proper branding and labelling of palm products to enhance traceability.
viii) Need for entrepreneurs to invest in utilization of 90% waste (Bio-mass) from the oil palm industry to generate wealth.
ix) The conference advocated the use of modern processing equipment for processing premium Crude Palm Oil (CPO) and other derivatives.
x) Encouragement for the development of oil palm plantations to remedy deforestation and ensure that entrepreneurs fulfill their social responsibilities to the host communities.
xi) Farmers were implored to explore the various funding windows of Government for Agricultural Development e. g. NIRSAL domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
xii) Establishment of special fund for Oil Palm Development to be managed by Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Bank of Industry (BOI), or NIRSAL that will offer 5 – 6% interest rate to effectively assist entrepreneurs in the industry.
xiii) The National Plant Quarantine Service (NPQS) should intensify efforts to check importation of diseased seeds/seedlings into the country to forestall introduction of fusarium wilt disease.
xiv) Vigorous enlightenment campaigns should be undertaken by Banks to educate farmers on the availability of various funding windows available to them.
xv) Need to train Produce Officers and establish quality control laboratories across oil palm producing States as well as discourage transportation of palm produce at nights.
xvi) Conference urged the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to prepare a roadmap for the development of the Oil Palm Industry in Nigeria. Noting that a Technical Committee had already been set up for that purpose by the Minister for Industry, Trade and Investment, an expeditious conclusion of the assignment was advocated.
xvii) Participants resolved that the Conference be made an annual event in Nigeria, to be held every December.
The objective of the conference was to bring global stakeholders in the Palm Industry together for the purposes of sharing ideas and exchanging information on new technologies and all related issues aimed at improving production, processing and marketing of oil palm along the entire value chain.
Support InfoStride News' Credible Journalism: Only credible journalism can guarantee a fair, accountable and transparent society, including democracy and government. It involves a lot of efforts and money. We need your support. Click here to Donate