A new Japanese technologyÂ Ecological Diversity Synergy (EDS), has been introduced into the country to convert old palm trees to fine timber.Chief Charles Ugwuh, the Managing Director of Ebony Agro Industries, made this known in an interview with newsmen in Abuja on Thursday afterÂ a stakeholdersâ€™ meeting.
He said the new technology was part of the concerted efforts to revive the oil palm industry and convert the nationâ€™s waste to wealth for its development.The Managing Director said the new technology was aimed at transforming oil palm tree trunk by improving the wood strength and durability to produce furniture Ugwu said the project was a joint venture between the United Nations Industrial DevelopmentÂ Organisation (UNIDO), Ebony Agro Industries Ltd. Nigeria, and Mitsui Corporation of Japan.
HeÂ expressed optimism that EDS would transform the countryâ€™s old and overgrown palm trees located mostly in the South East, South-South and South West to create wealth.
Toward this end, he said the new technology would be used in converting oil palm trees into fine timber.â€œThe country has a large expanse of oil palm groves in the southern part of the country that have been neglected and most of them are more than 60 years old. The beneficial economic impact will be tremendous, turning waste to wealth,â€ he said.
Ugwuh,Â added that EDS technique could create a major economic benefit and uplift the lives of the rural communities.
According to him, it will also create a new opportunity for organised replanting with new and better palm seedlings, which on the long run will ensure that the invigoration of the economy of the communities.
In effect, he said, EDS would lead to drastic reduction in poverty â€œas new palms will begin to yield valuable palm kernel oils, a valuable commodity in the world marketâ€.
To set up the EDS technology, he said, it would require four million dollars (N600 million) including the cost of local construction, provision of logistic equipment, tools and basic machines.
Other infrastructure, he added, were a small testing laboratory and an open warehouse for storage and processing.â€œIn view of the potential benefits for everyone involved in the value chain, we proposed to UNIDO that a model of the EDS Kiln be set up in Nigeria in the palm belt of the South East to evaluate the applicability of the technique oil palm tree is a living thing and the most productive tree in the world.
We have them in abundance in this country. What we are trying to do is to encourage owners of the plantations to cut down the old trees for the EDS technology and plant new ones with higher yields, Chief Mike Ijemba, a Consultant to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), said.
It was learnt that other stakeholders in the new technology include the Nigerian Institute of Agriculture Engineers (NAIE), Enugu, Project Development Agency (PRODA), Enugu and Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), Benin.Others are the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources and Raw Materials Research and Development Council .