By Boluwaji Obahopo, LOKOJA
A Solution – oriented organization, Solidaridad Nigeria has charged oil palm smallholder Farmers to embrace sustainable oil palm production in order to secure the environment and improve productivity.
The programme manager, oil palm/country management lead, Solidaridad Nigeria Kenechukwu Onukwube gave the charge in Lokoja at a multi stakeholders workshop organized for the Multi Stakeholders Platform (MSP) in the state.
Onukwube said the current ways of oil palm plantation in Nigeria is not sustainable, hence, the organization has come up with the best management practices that will educate oil palm smallholder farmers on how to apply fertilizer and the use of improved planting materials.
“We are advising palm oil farmers to make a replacement of the cut palm oil trees or go to vast land where there are shrubs to plant oil palm that will help to reclaim the environment.
“We are also warning oil palm farmers against improper application of fertilizer which has been a major problem as it becomes injurious to the ecosystem . Farmers should know the the rate of fertilizer to apply and at the appropriate time so that it will not be inimical to the environment.
“Cutting of trees and burning should also be avoided as such practice constitute double calamity because when trees are burnt more carbon dioxide will be emitted which has adverse effect on the organic substance in the soil. These are unsustainable practice farmers especially oil palm smallholder farmers should avoid” he advised.
Speaking on the multi stakeholders workshop, Onukwube said the National Initiative for Climate-Smart Oil Palm Smallholders (NISCOPS) project has been implemented in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Enugu and Kogi States since 2019, noting that the workshop was aimed at bring the stakeholders in the oil palm sector in Kogi State together to brainstorm, plan then develop a sustainable management plan for oil palm land scape in Kogi state.
He noted that the stakeholders are drawn from farmers, community leaders, public officials , local CSOs, and community facilitators and religious leaders to actualize the objective of the workshop.
“In 2019 Solidalidad conducted some studies in the oil palm sector , scoping study, gender vulnerability and life circle studies. So a lot of disturbing issues emanated from the studies, so based on that we have to form multi stakeholders from the community level where palm oil farming activities takes place.
“Also because of a lot of sustainable issues , social issues, environmental issues in the oil palm production in our land scape, unsustainable farm practices, are issues we are able to filter out from the studies we conducted
“So we decided to bring people together to see how this disturbing issues can be arrested because these practices are impacting negatively on the climate like global warming as farming activities also contributed negatively” he stated.