By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
AN International Civil Society Organisation, Solidaridad has charged Akwa Ibom stakeholders to come together to develop Sustainable Management Plan, SMP, needed to sustain, protect, and manage the State’s Oil palm landscape.
The programme manager, Oil palm Solidaridad in Nigeria, Mr. Kenechukwu Onukwube, who gave the advice weekend in Uyo during interaction with members of the Multi-Stakeholder Platform (MSP) comprising representatives from communities in the six LGAs where Solidaridad works, the State Ministry of Agriculture, as well as Environment and Solid Minerals.
Onukwube identified some of the objectives of the MSP to include making sustainable management plans with performance targets on the climate, and increasing stakeholders level of awareness on their direct and indirect roles in enhancing productivity in oil palm farming through climate Smart Agriculture.
His words: “Part of what will contribute to us having more of this project and other related projects by coming together on Multi-stakeholders platform to develop a Sustainable Management Plan.
“So we need to come together on a platform to develop a plan for Akwa Ibom oil palm scheme for the next ten years. For many years to come, Palm oil will be part parcel of the ingredients for producing several other things such as cosmetics globally
“We must put our heads together to develop a plan to save our oil palm landscape. This project is ending next year, 2023. If you don’t have SMP, then there will be a problem. You cannot justify why you need government intervention.
“Also you will not have a strong basis why you need intervention of any other agency for your oil palm which actually should be one of the economies of Akwa Ibom State”
The Solidaridad programme manager reminded the stakeholders that they have major collective role to play towards the protection /preservation of the state’s ecosystem.
Onukwube, expressed concern that already, much of the natural forest in the Western, South-South and Eastern part of Nigeria have been lost.
“Our Forest is shrinking on daily basis, while the remaining forest reserves apparently suffer unrelenting assault from chainsaw, often with the connivance of unscrupulous forest guards.
“We (Solidaridad) are working in six Local Government Areas of Akwa Ibom State, and we have observed that in some LGAs the forests are still in intact, some the forests partially degraded, some LG don’t have forests again.
” So we are saying the oil palm seedlings that we are sharing, put them in those degraded areas, don’t go and cut more forests. Follow Solidaridad example, let us reclaim degraded areas. That is our Central message”, he said.