Alphonsus Inyang, National President, National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria (NPPAN) has tasked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to set aside a special fund of at least N200 billion for the development of the oil palm sector in the country.
Inyang, who made the call in Asaba, Delta State, while flagging off the 2021 planting season and distribution of seedlings across the country, said such funds were imperative under the existing oil Palm Development Initiative domiciled in its Development Finance Department.
He also urged the federal ministry of Agriculture to fund the production and distribution of at least 10 million sprouted nuts annually for distribution to smallholder farmers across the country.
“What we are doing here today is significant in the sense that not only does it lay credence to our programme of every family planting at least 20 oil palm trees. It sends a strong signal to our members in particular and Nigerians in general that our association is ever ready and willing with the right support of all to restore Nigeria’s name on the global map of oil producing nations,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, Ben Agamah, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, noted that Delta State has since the inception of the present administration, cultivated 2,700 hectares of oil palm, a boost to the agriculture business.
According to him,the state raised about 1, 500,000 seedlings and distributed them to about 1,440 smallholder farmers. Commenting on the international price for a metric tonne of oil palm which is sold around $1070 , he described oil palm as a game changer which the country needs to fully exploit.
On his part, Dickson Okpor, Delta State Chairman, NPPAN,said the state is yet to fully explore the potential of its oil palm. He thereafter assured that the association is working towards making the state one of the best in the oil palm business.
Speaking on behalf of CBN, Elias Nworie, head of its Development Finance Office, said oil palm was receiving the attention of the apex bank, adding that in Delta alone, CBN has organised palm oil producers with a view to assisting them access funding and partake in the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).
Frontpage September 12, 2017