A private company, Presco Plc, says it is working with the Federal Government to establish a one million hectare Oil Palm Youth Programme in the country.
The Chairman, Board of Directors, Presco Plc, Mr Pierre Vandebeeck, stated this at the 26th Pre- Annual General Meeting (AGM/Cocktail), at the company’s integrated industrial establishment at Obaretin in Benin on Tuesday night.
Vandebeeck expressed optimism that Nigeria would regain its glory as the major supplier of palm oil to the world, if the initiative worked through.
He noted that the country was currently importing about a million tonnes of oil palm per annum which was affecting domestic production and sales.
“This year was a difficult one for us due to massive importation of palm oil and palm oil products.
“The country is importing about a million tonnes of oil palm per annum.
“This is not an enviable position, but the future looks bright as we plan to revamp the oil palm industry in the country,’’ Vandebeeck said.
The chairman thanked the federal and state governments for ensuring an enabling environment for the company to carry out its operations.
He added that one of the company’s achievements in the outgoing business year was improved relationship with the host community, noting that that its corporate social responsibility policy was one of the best in the country.
The Managing Director the company, Mr Felix Nwabuko, said they had given shareholders value for their money in the outgoing business year in spite of challenges encountered.
He listed achievements in the outgoing financial year as employment of over 8000 people, ongoing expansion of processing capacities in palm oil and palm kernel crushing plants and energy production facilities.
The Speaker, Edo House of Assembly, Mr Frank Okiye, commended the company for assisting government carry the burden of job creation and bridging unemployment gap in the country.
Okiye said that Edo government was in support of the company’s expansion plans and assured of more ease of doing business in the state.