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Group, NIFOR introduce new tools to boost palm production

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The machine is expected to increase the time frame for pruning and harvesting of palm products by almost 200 per cent and also reduce the risk faced by farmers in the manual harvest system.

• Nigeria yet to meet local consumption for oil palm

As a way of boosting palm oil production in southern Nigeria, the Partnership Initiative for Niger Delta (PIND) in partnership with some private firms and the Nigerian Institute For Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) has urged farmers to imbibe new palm harvesting tools to boost oil palm production in the country.

At a workshop for farmers at the NIFOR headquarters near Benin City where a palm fruit motorised harvesting device was introduced to farmers, Acting Executive Director of NIFOR, Dr Napoleon Aisueni said that continuous and constant retraining of farmers on new methods of harvesting palm products is key to guarantee farmers safety, improved revenue drive and sufficient food production.

The machine is expected to increase the time frame for pruning and harvesting of palm products by almost 200 per cent and also reduce the risk faced by farmers in the manual harvest system.

Represented by the Director of Production, Dr Michael Ugbah, Aisueni lamented that Nigeria has been importing about 400,000 tonnes of palm oil to meet local consumption.

“The oil palm today in Nigeria has been on the downward slide and all our efforts have been on how to revive the sector and this workshop is looking at some aspects of the value chain.

PIND and NIFOR have been in some partnership for sometimes now to address some of the drudgery in harvesting and other aspects of oil palm production. As you know, overtime, the oil palm became very difficult for farmers to reach the bunches because of a lot of things. You may miss it or unable to reach the bunch which could resort in the quantity and quality of the oil we get with this development.

A representative of PIND, Blessing Adebayo in her remarks noted that the essence of the workshop is to share with farmers improved harvesting technology.

“What we hope to achieve from this workshop is to get farmers to start thinking of adopting improved technology for their farming and harvesting processes. I want other investors to see the opportunities in investing in harvesting farm technology.”

She said PIND has also engaged a microfinance bank to facilitate purchase of the machine.

She disclosed that PIND principally is to reduce conflict in the Niger Delta noting that conflict is linked with unemployment and lack of opportunities adding “We are doing it through different methods and one of them is through economic development and to also provide opportunity for people to make money and to increase their income.”

A farmer from Omoregbe farm in Benin City who participated said the Mechanical Adjustable Harvester (MAH) is a very wonderful machine as it would help to make the job of a farmer very easy in the areas of oil palm bunch pruning and harvesting.

He reiterated that the machine will help to reduce the stress associated with manual harvesting with cutlass. “ The advantage of this machine is that you will find out that one person with the machine can do the job four persons and at the end of the day, you won’t as tired as the one who used conventional method which also save time. And as it saves time, it also translate to saving of money for you. And at the end of the day, you find yourself doing a whole lots more than people have done in the past. It will also increase revenue for the harvesters. One machine can do the job of four persons like I said before and that automatically translate to the income of four person to one person. It commercialise the use conveniently,” he stressed.



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