11.04.2019 (Independent Newspapers Limited) - NNEWI – The chairman of Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Anambra State chapter, who is also the managing director of Eagle Food Processing Industries, Ugochukwu Okpalaeke, has called on the Federal Government to ban the importation of palm produce such as palm oil, palm kernel and palm kernel oil to pave the way for local productions to thrive.
Speaking to journalists in Nnewi, Okpalaeke a National Order of Productivity Merit (NPOM) Award winner told the Federal Government that allowing importation of palm produce was counterproductive to President Muhammadu Buhari’s quest to use agriculture to diversify the nation’s economy.
He added that the influx of palm produce from Malaysia and Indonesia to Nigeria was a bad omen capable to undermine the development and growth of palm produce in the country.
The farmer, who is also a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Best Farmer award winner, lamented with nostalgia that palm produce, which was one of the nation’s economic base before has been relegated to the back seat, stressing the need for the government to rather initiate move to revive palm produce farming sector as part of its measures to diversify the economy via agriculture.
He said “In those days, palm produce was the economic base of the old eastern region of Nigeria, people have forgotten that eastern region was developed with revenues generated from palm produce just as the north used groundnuts to develop and cocoa was used to develop the western region, so allowing the import of palm produce in the country is most unhealthy and unfortunate because it is like an offensive against the development of local productions which has a lot of potential to make meaningful contributions to the growth of the our economy.”
He reminded the Federal Government that palm produce was the economic base of the old Eastern region and the proceed was used to pay workers and also execute developmental projects such as roads and establishing of the University of Nigeria Nsukka, among others.