‘Importation of crude palm oil crippling local industries’
Aside the massive unemployment which it would cause the nation, the association revealed that substandard product identified as “Taco” and described as unhealthy and injurious to human health, is being brought into the country on a large scale.
The NPPAN state chairman, Chief BolarinAdetula, lamented that the illegal entry of the product sabotages the efforts of the federal government to develop the nation’s palm oil industry.
“Since August last year, the prices of crude oil started witnessing down-ward trend, which is unusual during off-season, when its price is expected to be stable or going up because of high demand, low production in off-season period.
“No doubt, the product is illegally being massively imported into the country officially and also illegally smuggled into the country. A news publication in a national newspaper of November 27, 2017 confirmed the importation of the product.”
This, he explained, would return the country to the problem in the past that made many local producers to abandon their palm oil plantations, revealing that the new generation farmers had got loans to key into the FG initiatives to revive the sector.
“This new trend of allowing cheap palm oil into the country will definitely send all oil plantation owners out of the field once again and that will increase non-performing loans in the financial sector.
“The ripple effect on employment is left for everyone’s imagination, both in the agriculture and financial sectors of the economy.”
A member of the board of the association and Managing Director of Abia Farm, Chief AbiodunAdejo, noted that the trend is threatening the drive of government at all levels to solve unemployment crisis in the country.
According to him, “One hectare of palm plantation will employ five permanent employees. It may interest you to know that a ship load of palm oil imported into the country is killing not less than 4,000 jobs in Nigeria and sustaining not less than 4,000 jobs in the country where it is imported from.”
Adejo, who is also the Odole of Akure Kingdom, said “it will be a great oversight if the government fails to stem this trend of importing cheap palm oil to Nigeria thereby killing a sector of the economy that can create thousands of employment for our unemployed youths.”
He alleged that some cabals and industrialists are behind the illegal activities, faulting the statistics they put forward that the nation produces 970, 000 metric tons of palm oil per annum.
‘They have often failed to tell us how many stands of oil palm can the country boast of and how many hectares are such numbers occupying? They go about with these figures to justify importing cheap palm oil and thus killing the palm oil industry in Nigeria.”
‘The association, as a matter of urgency, urged FG to task its border monitoring agencies to aggressively beef up security at the borders to stem uninhibited importation of all manners of vegetable oils.
“The National Assembly should write the leadership of Nigeria Customs and other similar organisations for questioning. This is an act of sabotage.”
NPPAN also demanded that government should as a matter of policy, set up farm tanks in strategic locations in all palm oil producing states so that appropriate government agency can monitor the quality and quantity of production.
The NPPAN chieftains argued that “taking everyone for granted by dishing out bogus statistics of palm oil production in Nigeria will be out of it, and income generation for the government will be easy.”
Their words: “The government should extend the policy on rice production to palm oil production, which is fast making Nigeria self-sufficient in rice production, thereby conserving of foreign earning.”
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