The newly constituted Board of Trustees, BoT, of the National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria, NPPAN, called on National Assembly, NASS, to tackle and sanitise the country’s oil palm industry with legislation

Caption: Harvesting of Palm oil fruit

Nigeria - The newly constituted Board of Trustees, BoT, of the National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria, NPPAN, called on National Assembly, NASS, to tackle and sanitise the country’s oil palm industry with legislation. Expressing concern over the oil palm industry being without standards over the years, the newly elected BoT Chairman of NPPAN, Chief Abiodun Adejo, while addressing journalists on the roadmap of the association said it is now time for oil palm to take its place in the agricultural sector, because the commodity is the largest money spinner in the economy at the moment.

Adejo lamented that unfortunately, despite the huge potential of the commodity, government over the years has neglected it, and nothing tangible is done to activate its prospects as it is in other countries, which in Malaysia, government has given strong and sustainable support through various policies that have placed its oil palm industry on an enviable height.

Also other members of the new BoT spoke in same vein as they emphasized the need for an enabling environment they expect government at the federal, state and local government levels should provide for the private sector to push forward and open a new vista in the drive to diversify the economy, because palm oil as a commodity has the biggest opening to generate foreign exchange than the oil and gas sector following the number of profitable by-products it has including its life’s span which is over 50 years.

Meanwhile, the BoT chairman was elected along with the Secretary, Rose Gyar, with other members have both hit the ground running and promised to galvanise the oil palm industry in a short time. Speaking on the need to formulate policies that would grade Nigeria’s palm oil to regulate production and sale of the commodity as it is with the crude oil, the BoT chairman disclosed that the association is already on the move to approach NASS with a presentation whereby palm oil will be gazetted alongside other agric commodities as exportable commodity.

He said: “We want to work with the association to make sure that palm oil is not sold out until it is graded, we want to make sure that we are able to legislate that ungraded palm oil cannot be taken out of the country or sold to other states, the states that produce the palm oil must grade and certify it as good oil before it is taken to any other state or to any other market. “So, this grading has to be legislated upon at the national level so that everybody will know that when you are selling the oil you are certified, that will also make the state and local government earn from the sales of palm oil.

“We will make sure those palm oil-producing companies’ key into the association goals and aspiration. The BoT will be able to bring in these big companies and let them know the advantages of working together. Our aim as the BoT is to make sure the National Assembly is able to gazette palm oil as a product that is an exportable commodity for the country.”

“We will have to either make a presentation to the National Assembly, to make them see the benefit of palm produce that can generate enough foreign exchange rather than going into crude oil production.”

He further stated that, “The only way it can be done is to make the federal government, the state and local government know that there is a lot of money that can be earned through palm production in Nigeria. Other countries believe that palm comes from West Africa, and if we own it, while should we be the one importing the product. We should be the one exporting it to everywhere in the world, and if we export it, a barrel of palm oil today is twice the price of crude oil which shows that the future of Nigerian depends on palm oil.”

“The foreign exchange we get from palm produce is greater than any other products in this country, the only product that can compete with oil palm is rubber, but rubber is mono. Whereas in our own case we have the palm kernel, we have the palm kernel oil, we have the oil that we can sell to the whole world, and the one we are producing now cannot meet up with local demand. So, it is an open market for us, we can explore a lot and we can develop Nigeria through palm produce.”

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