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We can sustain $500m oil palm investment in Edo, says Obaseki

By Guardian Nigeria
04 August 2022   |   4:00 am
Edo State government has built a formidable structure to sustain the gains of the $500 million investment in the state’s oil palm sector.

Edo State government has built a formidable structure to sustain the gains of the $500 million investment in the state’s oil palm sector.

Governor Godwin Obaseki, in a chat with Africa Report, said the investment would drive Nigeria’s diversification targets, as the plantations developed through the Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP) would provide feedstock for manufacturing companies in the country.

His words: “We decided to be strategic in the development of oil palm, rubber and cassava value chains in Edo. We developed plans and went to the Federal Government for support. This is why we got financing from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“ESOPP benefits from CBN financing as we sat down to determine the type of financing required to built a sustainable sector. We also keyed into the government’s mechanisation programme. We have since attracted $500 million in investment into the state’s oil palm sector.”

The governor noted that the state government prioritised the task of ensuring that there was a market for farm produce, adding that the government approached agriculture as a business and got partners that believe in the same principles.

“There has to be a market. Agriculture is a business. We located companies and partnered them. We looked at what they needed and asked them to come to Edo to invest in the raw materials they needed to run their factories and plants.

“One of the criteria we considered is that they must have a market for their product and require a steady source of raw materials. We asked them to walk back through the production value chain and come and site in Edo as the source of their raw materials. With this arrangement, the investment is sustainable,” he explained.

Obaseki said the government built frameworks, systems, institutions and local capacity to sustain the investment, for the people to be well integrated into the production activity.

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