NGO advises Kogi Govt. to eradicate poverty, land degradation with palm oil production.
IDRIS AHMED, LOKOJA
Kogi Government has been advised to indulge in massive Palm oil production to reduce poverty and Land degradation in the State.
Mr James Odiba, Coordinator Kogi Multi Stakeholder Platform, made the call during a 1-Day Briefing/Meeting, organized by Solidaridad, a Civil Society Organization, held in Lokoja on Tuesday.
Odiba said that Palm oil today is the most revenue generating commodity than petroleum, and could turn around the fortune of a nation.
“Solidaridad is deliberately in Kogi state to see how it could help small holder farmers improve their standard of living through massive production of palm oil.
“We are today in three local Government Areas of Kogi state; Dekina, Ofu and Olamaboro, working with over 30, 000 small holder farmers in the production of palm oil, who will today give us feedback on their activities.
“With Palm oil selling at about $3546 per ton in the international market, Solidaridad
as an experienced regional-based, solution-oriented organisation, promotes inclusive sustainable markets and development that work for the poor, to eradicate poverty, ” he said.
He noted that in West Africa, millions of smallholder farmers and workers earn their livelihoods in the oil palm sector, which in turn was an important contribution to the countries’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said in spite of an increasing demand for oil palm globally, the production has not resulted in beneficial returns to the small-holders in Kogi, Nigeria and West Africa as a whole.
“There is also the concern that despite international and domestic initiatives and standards, the expansion of oil palm sector comes with significant climate and sustainability challenges including peat, forest ecosystems, emissions from inputs and effluents that demands government’s intervention and collaboration.
“This is why the National Initiative for Sustainable Climate Smart Oil Palm for Small Holders (NISCOPS) Project in Kogi state were implemented in three (3) Local Government areas in Kogi in 2020 namely’ Ofu, Dekina and Olamaboro to help matters.,” he said.
Mrs Egong, an economist and resource person at the meeting emphasized the importance of palm trees to the ecosystem and the need for farmers and Kogi government to join hands with Solidaridad
She said, “Forests are the ‘lungs ‘ of the earth because they supply oxygen to the atmosphere and protect the land from erosion, protect homes, farms, and coastlines from strong winds and waves as well as give economic benefits, therefore must be conserved.”
Other speakers at the meeting include, Amos Echu (Ofu), Ibrahim Musa (Dekina) and Mohammed Sani (Olamoboro) gave accounts of activities of their small holders farmers in their respective LGAs and expressed appreciation of what Solidaridad has been doing for them to improve and expand their business.
In his remarks, Mr Akin Jimoh, Director of Agriculture, State ministry of Agriculture, said the government, through the ministry has produced a blue print through which it could boost oil palm production in the state.
Jimoh commended Solidaridad for its intervention programme towards boosting Oil Palm production in the state for over three years now.
“I want to assure you that Kogi state government will give you all the necessary support and cooperation toward this project which is aimed at bettering the lives of our citizens especially the farmers and our economy for growth and development ” the director said.
Kogi state is blessed with several hectares of land suitable for the cultivation of palm trees and mass production of palm oil.