Edo investing in oil palm, says gov
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said his government’s sustained investment in oil palm cultivation and production will enhance diversification of the state’s economy from crude oil and support ongoing efforts to engender forest regeneration.
Obaseki, speaking during the inspection of an oil palm nursery bed project at Evboesi community in Orhionmwon Council, said his government plans to make agriculture the state’s new oil, leveraging its huge potential to boost the state’s economy, tackle food insecurity and create wealth for citizens.
The governor, who noted that oil palm would be the backbone of future economies, said the state is sustaining reforms and programmes to support the influx of investors into the agriculture sector.
He disclosed that Edo is a signatory to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a global body with the objective of promoting the growth and use of sustainable palm oil products through global standards and multi-stakeholder governance.
Obaseki said: “This is a long-term investment. This land was a thick forest some 60 years ago but it has been badly degraded due to illegal felling of trees. It’s almost impossible to grow that kind of forest.
“Instead of leaving the land fallow, we decided to get serious investors that understand the business of oil palm to invest in this area and grow oil palm in place of the forest.
“We did several trips to Indonesia about five years ago to understand how they cultivate their oil palm and attract investment into the oil palm sector. We learnt to get the state to support the exercise in a organised manner. This led to the creation of Edo State Oil Palm programme (ESOPP), which is a programme where we partner with the private sector.”
The governor said the state embarked on a forest audit and found out that Iyeko-Orhionmwon had about 60,000 hectares of land that was badly degraded for possible cultivation.