An Agro-based Non-Governmental Organisation, Stocks and Minas Agricultural Advocacy Network Africa (SMAANA) in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has inaugurated a 10,000 hectares oil-palm plantation in Kogi.
Mr. Joseph Idoko, President of the NGO said the initiative was to complement government’s effort at ensuring food sufficiency.
Idoko said that the SMAANA initiative was to bridge the gap between demand and supply of palm oil as well as generate more than 60,000 jobs.
He said that the recent ban on palm oil importation had placed enormous responsibility on the local farmers to meet the shortfall.
Idoko said that the NGO had decided to leverage on the opportunity to revolutionise palm oil production in the country.
According to him, every household of about five persons consume 96 liters of palm-oil annually and we have 24 branded vegetable oil in the market and each brand contains 75 per cent palm oil.
He said that a hectare of oil-palm could employ six permanent workers adding that the 10,000 hectares would employ over 60,000 permanent workers.
Idoko said that his organisation had secured 18 sets of Forestry Mulchers at a cost of N1.6 billion from Anozer Energy Global, Florida, U.S.A. and would be shipped to the country soon.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele commended SMAANA for the initiative to revolutionise oil palm production, adding that the bank would give necessary support to the project.
Emefiele, represented by Mr, John Alfa, the Acting Head, Development Finance Department, Lokoja branch office, said the CBN in its quest to ensure food security, had initiated various agricultural projects and disbursed more than N30 billion to support the Anchor Borrowers Scheme and Cluster Farming.
According to him, with 2.5 metric tons annual demand for palm oil and 1.3 metric tons internal production, leaving a short fall of 1.2 metric tons for importation offers much opportunity for employment.