21 Aug 2019 (The Punch) The Delta State Government has planned to establish 1.2 million hectares of oil palm plantation between 2019 and 2023.
This, it stated, would be done through the Central Bank of Nigeria Oil Palm Development Initiative to increase wealth and promote economic growth in the state.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Julius Egbedi, said this on Monday at the stakeholders’ meeting of the CBN Oil Palm Development Initiative held at the Government House, Asaba.
He said if properly implemented, Nigeria would become the third best palm oil-producing nation in the world.
According to him, the CBN Oil Palm Development Initiative is geared toward creating an oil palm belt in Nigeria and to revive the dwindling fortune of the commodity.
Egbedi said the objective of the programme, which prompted the interest of the Delta State Government, was to increase domestic production of oil palm through the efforts of individuals, communities and investors.
He explained that the effect of the initiative would be to meet local demand for oil palm, palm kernel oil and hydrogenated fat, stamp out the importation of the product and create employment and wealth in the state.
He said, “The time to begin the expansion of the oil palm sector is now. The accelerated production of oil palm will reduce poverty in our communities and remove the country’s overdependence on crude oil and promote agriculture.
“In order to ensure that the farmers in the state participated in the CBN OPDI programme, the government has directed that efforts be put in place to ensure compliance with the Round Table on Sustainable Oil Palm protocol in the programme.”