Edo Set to Optimize Palm oil to grow its economy
Governor Godwin Obaseki has said Edo will rely on palm oil sector in its diversification initiative to grow the economy of the state.
The government, he said, would therefore invest massively in the development of oil palm.
The governor unfolded the plan when a 14-member committee, set up to develop an oil palm development plan for the state, presented its report in Benin on Thursday.
Obaseki said the government was planning to establish oil palm estates which would be managed through the state-government’s partnership with communities.
He said efforts were underway to acquire land for the project.
“Oil palm is our new crude oil; it will be the key driver of our economic development.
“The state still has one of the largest oil palm estates, with some oil palms having the highest yields, in the country.
“We want to leverage on our high-yielding varieties and long tradition of oil palm production to acquire about 100,000 hectares of land for the development of new oil palm estates.’’
The governor commended the committee for its assignment and report, assuring the committee members that government would get the needed resources to execute the project.
“We will within the next two weeks create a smaller team to come up with a work plan on how to execute the feasibility plan.
“It will also work on the image capture of the land that will be used for the project and get the involvement of the host communities for the project.
“A committee of experts, who will be drawn from Okomu, Presco and the Nigeria Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) and other stakeholders, will be set up to ensure that we get it right.’’
He said the government would ensure that the soil and weather data are made available for this purpose.
The government would also approach Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to assistance under the bank’s agricultural financing programmes.
Earlier, the Chairman of the committee, Dr Anthony Ogunbor, commended the Obaseki’s effort to industrialise the state.
Ogunbor said that the committee recommended four key issues in the report, which needed to be addressed to ensure the viability of the project.
He listed the issues as land development, which would require satellite imaging to capture all elements in the land, and the need to develop oil palm estates.
Other issues are the ease of doing business in the state via the provision of adequate security and necessary infrastructure as well as the need to have data on soil and weather conditions.