By Harris Emanuel, Uyo
National President of Oil Palm Growers Association of Nigeria, OPGAN, Chief Joe Onyiuke, has said about $500 million worth of palm oil was needed to meet local demand of the commodity annually.
He added that for the gap to be bridged, local palm oil producers would need to strategise their efforts at both production and organisation to attract the necessary funding needed for improved and increased production.
Onyiuke at a town hall meeting with Akwa Ibom State chapter of OPGAN in Uyo, yesterday, expressed regret that palm oil, which remain a major component for the production of more than 40 items, excluding cooking, has been left in the hands of the elderly, leading to big production and supply gaps even as outdated processing methods were most times deployed in the country.
He said: “It is so bad that Nigeria do not even have any capacity to export palm oil again and the local demand gap is about $500 million and that is why OPGAN has taken it upon itself to organise members properly. So, if we are able to galvanize our strength, I am very sure we can meet the gap and surpass it.”
He tasked members of the association on the need for cooperatives and clusters for easy access to loans and assured that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, loan facility for members would be ready in three months for those able to meet the requirements and conditions stipulated by the apex bank.