Says farmers need 10 million sprouted nuts
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria, NPPAN, Sunday, demanded Nigeria Oil Palm Development Council, NOPDC, to meet the vision and aspirations of the Buhari –led administration to diversify the economy through agriculture.
The demand was made by the National President, NPPAN, Alphonsus Iyang, while speaking with Vanguard on the need for the National Assembly to see reasons why the Nigeria Oil Palm Development Council Council Bill is passed into law based on the urgent need to develop and harness the ‘gold mine’ in oil palm industry that Nigeria can become a world leader in a short time.
According to Iyang the association is currently making efforts and putting in place mechanisms that would galvanise the sub-sector, but need a platform to fast-track it, hence the demand for the establishment of Nigeria Oil Palm Development Council.
He said: “Lack of national policy on oil palm development in the country which can be done through the proposed Nigeria Oil Palm Development Council, NOPDC, just like we have the Sugar Development Council and the recently passed Rice Development Council.
“We demand a Nigerian Oil Palm Development Council Bill be passed into law in order to fast-track development of the industry and that would help Nigeria recover and restore its lost glory.
“We appeal to the National Assembly to consider and give a speedy hearing to the bill and its passage into law as it is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision and effort to diversify the economy through agriculture and the time is now.”
He further stated that “Federal Government should release of all surcharges earned from palm produce imports, and we need an allocation of at least 100,000 hectares each from the 24 states with a comparative advantage in oil palm production.
“We also call for the policy to replace all ornamental and uneconomical trees in the country for the purpose of environmental conservation, and we need increased funding by the federal government to NIFOR to enable them to produce more seedlings for our farmers.
“Also the government should end smuggling of oil palm products into the country from Cameron, Togo, Benin Republic, and others. Our smallholder farmers are really in need of support including provision of processing equipment and implements at subsidized rates, and as an association, we need a conducive environment to encourage smallholder farmers to be in production and business.”
He (Iyang) also said to boost oil palm production in the country they need at least 10 million sprouted nuts from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
“We demand the provision of at least 10 million sprouted nuts from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to smallholder farmers yearly to enable us to develop nurseries.
“In the area of waivers and incentives, we want to plead with the federal government to look into the issue of the 25 per cent surcharge from oil palm imports and make it available to the industry for backward integration.
“We are not promoting export now because the landing cost of our products in Europe currently stands at around 10 per cent above the competition”, he stated.