Nigeria wants to revive the ailing palm oil sector

Nigerian farmer Micah Ojo hopes to raise funds for a government-sponsored palm oil business.

Agriculture is one of the few farms scattered throughout southern Nigeria that the government has invested heavily in.

Once a major producer, Nigeria is now importing from Indonesia and Malaysia, further exacerbating the foreign exchange deficit caused by the global oil crisis and the epidemic.

But history seems to be changing as the Nigerian government, through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), invests billions in loans to help farmers and investors in the industry.

Many states, including South Edo and Aku Ibom, where roads have been rehabilitated with hectares of dark green palm trees and corpses, are bringing new life to the sector.

“We need help. The business is focused on capital, ”said Ojo at his Edo farm. We want the government to come to us to help us.

The palm oil industry around the world has been widely criticized for deforestation, loss of community land, and labor unrest in Southeast Asia.

However, the oil used in cooking, food and cosmetics is a major industry in Indonesia and Malaysia, and Africa has grown in recent years.

Proponents say it will help create jobs and development in the area.

Through the agricultural credit program and other programs, Nigeria is supporting operators to purchase quality and up-to-date seedlings and set up new farms and mills.

In Edo State, there are three palm and rubber plantations on more than 33,000 hectares of land owned by Okomo Oil Palm Company, partly supported by a $ 14 billion loan ($ 34 million).

Graham Hepher, Managing Director of South Africa, who has run the company since 2007, said:

But like other industries, logistics and infrastructure problems in Africa’s vast population are hampering the growth of industrial production to meet environmental needs.

“The level playing field that people are talking about is not the same in Nigeria,” Hefer said, noting the lack of roads, electricity, high taxes and congestion at ports.

We are serious about addressing these concerns.

Nigeria, the world’s fifth-largest palm oil producer, consumes about two million tons of palm oil annually, half of which is imported, and 800,000 to one million tons of domestic production.

Big players like Okumu account for only 30 percent of GDP, while small producers represent 70 percent.

A.D. Founded in 1976, Okomo has three oil factories, producing 40,000 tons of palm oil (CPO) a year.

One mill is in operation, the second is shipped this month and the third is expected to stream next year.

The company wants to double its production to 80,000 tons a year by 2025.

Small players struggle
Local authorities say they are using CBN loans to rehabilitate more than 3,000 hectares of palm oil plantations left 30 years ago in neighboring Aqua Ibom State.

The farm has 200,000 oil palm trees and 300,000 nurseries.

But unlike Okoom and other big players, small farmers say they are struggling to get financial support because they are out of the Central Bank’s loan plans and can’t tap other currencies.

Local farmer Ojo said the Okumu plant, which is a few kilometers away from the spread of FPS investment, is hurting the business.

It started with only five workers and now has 30 employees, but it needs investment to expand its 150-hectare farm.

“We don’t hear about loans for local farmers,” he said.

The Nigerian Plant Owners Forum, an industry lobby group, has appealed to the government and lenders to help small operators with discount loans.

It costs $ 4,000 to $ 5,000 to cultivate a hectare of palm oil, and the gestation period is at least three years, according to the association.

“Banks that are willing to lend are only ready for large institutions that already have strong sources of income,” said one forum representative.

These companies are mostly multi-ethnic. Funded small farmers have no access.

Local producers want to enter the state-run Nigerian Palm Research Institute to help farmers with improved seedlings, pest and disease control and proper control.

“If we are given the proper incentives, our local farmers will do it,” said Sola Oni, an analyst at Sofunix Investment. The government must create a conducive environment for them to prosper.

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