Edo Revives Oil Palm Belt With N91.3bn
The Edo State Government has said it is reviving the Urhonigbe oil palm belt with N91.3bn.
It said this amount was jointly made available by the Central Bank of Nigeria and private investors, for the cultivation of oil palm on 51.8 hectares in Urhonigbe, Orhionmwon Local Government Area of the state, under the first phase of the Edo State Oil Palm Programme.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security Programme, Joe Okojie, was quoted by a statement from the state government, to have said this at a one-day sensitisation seminar for oil palm farmers in the state.
He noted that out of the total investment of N91.3bn, the CBN provided N68.8bn, while farmers would contribute N22.5bn.
Okojie said the state government was currently in talks with the Partnerships for Forests to support the financing for farmers, adding that the implementation committee for the programme would be set up in a week’s time to kickstart land allocation to investors.
The governor’s aide said 120,000 hectares of land had been acquired for the programme in Orhionmwon, Uhunmwonde, Ovia North East and Ovia South West Local Government Areas of the state, noting that farmers would be paired with investors in a ratio of 30 per cent small and medium scale farmers to 70 per cent oil palm investors.
“It will be a cluster type of farming. Investors will get between 5,000 to 10,000 hectares each. The investors will get 70 per cent of the land and allocate 30 per cent to small and medium scale farmers. The investors must include corporate social responsibility for the host community in their production plan before they will participate in the programme,” he added.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Richard Edebiri, said the ESOPP was geared towards revamping the oil palm industry in the state, noting that the programme comprised capacity building, collaboration in the area of research, processing and others.
In his remarks, the Director, Research and Head, Extension Services, the Nigerian Institute for Oilpalm Research, Dr Solomon Olusegun, commended the Edo State Government for taking the bold step in reviving its oil palm sector, noting that the big players in the industry in the state guaranteed the success of the programme.
He added that the gesture would create wealth for small scale farmers.