Economic Development: NEPC Trains Oil Palm Farmers/Processors In Ogun, Vows To Improve Local Products
In line with the current administration’s agenda to boost the country’s economy through promotion of Nigerian made products, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) said it is looking at development of value-chain for Nigerian non-oil products to boost the economy.
The NEPC’s Abeokuta Export Assistance Office Deputy Director, Samson A. Idowu during an awareness training workshop held in Odogbolu and Ipokia on Thursday and Friday respectively disclosed that the workshop was to deliberate on conscious effort of government to put the country back in its pride.
The workshop which came with the theme “Repositioning Nigerian Oil Palm Value-chain For Export Competitiveness in Global Market” was attended by hundreds of palm oil famers, processors within the state who were sensitised on oil palm production and processing for export competitiveness.
Idowu disclosed that the NEPC was committed to exploring how to improve the quality of Nigerian brand since the country’s export strength lies in value addition of agricultural produce.
Equally, the NEPC’s boss who stressed the enormity of opportunities available in oil palm farming stressed that the palm oil is one of non-oil exportable product that could yield high revenue for the country if serious attention is paid to it.
He added that the potential in palm oil farming is high, adding that “the challenge is that our production is 1 million metric tonnes but consumption is 2.5 million metric tonnes it means we need at least 2 million metric tonnes to meet both local consumption and produce for export”.
To surmount this challenge, Idowu said “We are going from one producing area to another not only to explore on how to bridge the gap in production but to exceed production for local consumptions so that it could go ahead into export”.
His view was that; investment in oil palm farming would end the popular narrative of unemployment, which, according to him is one of the major challenges the country is facing.
His words “Beyond meeting the mandatory requirements, we are also exploring access to global market which become a game changer for us as we progress from pandemic to prosperity”
The state Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Engineer Ganiyu Oseni in his address hinted that the workshop was imperative at a time Nigeria is suffering from dwindling economic fortunes due to failing crude petroleum oil prices.
He said “This workshop is meant to be an eye opener for investors in oil palm production and processing. It’s coming at a time when the country is suffering from failed economic fortunes due to falling crude oil price”.
Dr. Frank Ekhator and Dr. Emmanuel Okogbeni dwell at length on best agronomy practices, reduction of free fatty acid, need to embrace refining, oleochemicals as ways of jump starting the sector.