…holds two days workshop for palm farmers in Delta
By Festus Ahon, ASABA
THE Nigeria Export Promotion Council, NEPC and National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria, NPPAN, Tuesday, told the Federal and State Governments to assist palm farmers with grants and soft loans to boost palm oil and kernel production in the country.
Speaking during the closing ceremony of two days capacity building on good agricultural practices, health and safety on palm oil and kernel production organized by NEPC, held at Agbor, Ika South Local Government Area, Delta State, its Chief Executive Officer, Sustainable Smallholders Oil Palm Services, Mr Bassey Udeme, called on the Federal and State Government to assist palm oil farmers in order to promote exports.
Udeme said the workshop was targeted in the non-oil sector to expand the MSMEs and promote export businesses to grow the economy in the face of economic hardship.
He said the training would help to identify and address capacity gaps in low and substandard oil production which were being rejected when exported overseas.
He said the NEPC was already at the vanguard of a new vision to achieving a zero–oil plan which would form an integral part of the Federal Government Economic Recovery and Growth Plan on building a strong and vibrant economy that is sustained by non-oil products.
He urged both the Federal and State governments to give palm farmers the necessary supports and also key to the sector in order to diversify the economy
The Chairman of NPPAN, Delta State chapter, Major Dickson Okpor (retd), who also spoke to newsmen, noted that a deeper economic diversification initiative could only be achieved if the government at all levels supported palm farmers with loans and grants.
Others who spoke in the same vein, including the organizing Secretary of, National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria, Mr Stephen Eghen, Pastor Isaac Ojonigwa of the Federation of Agricultural Commodity Association of Nigeria among others, stressed the need for local farmers to be encouraged.
They lamented that the grants and soft loans from the government were most often hijacked by “portfolio farmers “.
Participants at the training thanked the organizers and the resource persons for putting up the workshop which they said was timely.
The training which was organized by NEPC was to train palm oil farmers in the State on best Agricultural Practices, bridge the gap factors and Good Safety Standards required in export business.
The training featured lectures from resource persons as well as presentations of certificates to participants.