Solidaridad harps on oil palm potential, best practices
Solidaridad West Africa, a not-for-profit advocate of best agricultural practices, has said its main aim is to make palm oil production in the country compete internationally by following global best practices.
This was disclosed during a seminar and inauguration of its Multi-Stakeholders Platform (MSP) in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, yesterday.
Speaking with the stakeholders, Dr Samuel Ogallah, Senior Climate Specialist for Africa and Country Technical Lead, reminded participants that MSP was set up to promote synergy among stakeholders in the oil palm sector of Nigeria.
Again, he told the palm oil farmers in the state that setting up the body was also to increase stakeholders’ level of awareness on their direct and indirect roles in enhancing productivity in the oil palm sub-sector through climate-smart agriculture.
He assured farmers of a transformed oil palm sector in the country if only stakeholders follow the guidelines and best management practices.
According to him, the objectives include “promoting synergy among stakeholders towards the protection of the oil palm landscape and ecosystems; promoting inclusion, gender-sensitive access to inputs and oil palm markets with strong emphasis for traceability and standardisation.”
It will be recalled that Solidaridad began its operations in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria in 2019 with a focus on Ghana and Nigeria.
Ogallah said the country’s palm oil would be readily acceptable in the international market when its origin could be attributed to traceability and standardization regulations by authorities which determine how a product is presented in terms of quality and quantity.
“When we are looking at traceability, it is a component; when discussing the issue of standardization, standards are set by authorities and when you get into the market, there is a particular standard that consumers want to see and that they will appreciate. The regulation of standards is by authorities who say that the quality, quantity and the nature or the presentation of a product must be in a particular way.
“Nevertheless, traceability is linked to it because if you look at a product, you would want to know it’s origin, just like you would look at a product and ask what it is, you would also want to know where the product is from. So, in the oil palm sector, we want to be able to know what variety of fresh fruit bunch makes up this palm oil and then where it is from. Is it possible to know the farm or in our own case here, the chain of farms and then the processor(s) that resulted in this particular oil palm product?
“Internationally, we want to be able to prove ultimately that palm oil that comes from Akwa Ibom State from Nigeria are deforestation-free so that it will not be assumed that every palm oil on the shelf that is from Nigeria comes from farms that produce the oil palm from degrading forests.”