Four states key into national palm oil initiative
Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Enugu and Kogi states have endorsed the National Initiatives for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Oil Palm Smallholders (NISCOPS) project in Nigeria.
The endorsement came after a two-day inter-state stakeholders forum in the four states, which host the projects.
Programme Manager, Oil Palm, Solidaridad West Africa (SWA) Nigeria, Kene Onukwube, said the project was designed to ensure increased productivity of palm oil in an environmentally-friendly way and to improve the livelihood of smallholder oil palm farmers.
“The interest in NISCOPS from the four states is a good indication, as the project is designed to transform oil palm production in the country with much concern to the environment during cultivation and processing,” he said.
He added that the project would achieve for the country self-sufficiency in palm oil productivity, reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission at the mill level, and improvement in income and livelihood of smallholder farmers.
NISCOPS Technical Project Coordinator and Senior Climate Specialist for Solidaridad Africa, Dr. Samson Ogallah, assured that the NISCOPS project would transform the oil palm landscape and the sector sustainably and “contribute to achieving the Paris Agreement through the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) in Ghana, Nigeria, Indonesia and Malaysia where the project is being implemented.”
A lecturer and research consultant at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, Dr. Rowland Okoli, said NISCOPS came at the time the global demand for palm oil is on the rise due to multiplicity of use.
“Palm oil production has the capacity of engendering pro-poor development by lifting millions of rural poor out of poverty and contributing to the attainment of SDGs, as evidence abound in Malaysia and Indonesia,” he stated.
The initiative, with the support of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, is the project of SWA Nigeria.
SWA said the choice of Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Cross River and Kogi for the initiative was because they were among the largest producers of palm oil in the country.
“These states have the largest concentrations of independent smallholders accounting for 89 per cent of the palm oil production in Nigeria, and therefore provide a viable avenue to trigger smallholders’ embrace of sustainable climate-smart agricultural practices,” the firm stated.
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