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Local palm oil production can save Nigeria $600m annually – NPPAN - PUNCH

JUNE 20, 2024

By Temitope Aina

The National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria has revealed that the country could save $600m annually by investing in palm oil production.

According to the President of NPPAN, Alphonsus Inyang, Nigeria’s current reliance on palm oil imports has created a substantial financial drain that could otherwise be mitigated by revitalising the domestic palm oil sector, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.

“Nigeria spends $600m on palm oil importation annually. The money could be saved and injected into the economy if the palm oil sub-sector was given due attention by successive governments,” he said.

Historically, Nigeria was a dominant force in palm oil production, leading the global market in the 1960s with over 60 per cent of the world’s palm oil.

He stated that due to neglect and lack of strategic investment in the sector by successive governments, Nigeria’s production capacity had dwindled, adding that the country ranked fifth globally in palm oil production, lagging behind Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Colombia.

According to Inyang, Nigeria currently consumes approximately three million metric tons of palm oil annually while producing less than half of this demand domestically.

He proposed a comprehensive strategy to revitalise the sector through the National Oil Palm Strategy Development Plan, stating that the plan aimed to develop 250,000 hectares of oil palm plantations annually, which could bridge the deficit in production within four years.

“At the moment, the country occupies the fifth position in the league of palm oil-producing countries after Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Colombia.

“Nigeria may even lose the position to smaller countries who are investing heavily in the sector. Indonesia occupies the first position, producing 50 million metric tons, Malaysia second with 19 million metric tons, Thailand 3.28 million and Colombia 1.9 million metric tons,” Inyang posited.

He underscored the importance of government support in providing essential inputs, such as seedlings, fertilisers, logistics, and implements to achieve this ambitious goal.

The implementation of this plan, according to Inyang, not only promises to meet domestic demand but also to position Nigeria as a competitive player in the global palm oil market once again.

In response to those challenges, the NPPAN president called on the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to prioritise and support local palm oil producers.

Inyang stressed that with the necessary governmental assistance, including policy frameworks and financial incentives, Nigeria has the potential to not only meet its domestic demand but also become a net exporter of palm oil.

This transformation, he believed, would not only create economic opportunities and reduce dependency on imports but also foster agricultural innovation and employment across the country.

“Our members can plant up to 250,000 hectares per year through the association’s National Oil Palm Strategy Development Plan; all we want are inputs. The government does not need to give and develop land for us, we need seedlings, fertilisers, logistics and implements to close this gap within four years. We will also create new millionaires in 28 states of the federation,” he stated.


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