The need to make conscious efforts towards encouraging the farming of palm oil so that it can serve as a revenue earner for the nation has been stressed by the Kogi State Commissioner for Agriculture, Hon. David Apeh.
The Agricultural Commissioner made the appeal at a one day stakeholders meeting Organized by the National Initiatives for Sustainable and Climate Smart Oil Palm Smallholders ( NI-SCOPS ), in Partnership with Solidaridad, a Coalition of NGOs; Youth and Women Health Empowerment Project, DEGENDER, Interlect and Participation Initiative For Behavioural Change in Developement, urged the Federal and State Governments to make oil palm production a priority.
Hon. Apeh described the Workshop as one that is coming at a good time, especially when Crude Oil revenue is dropping drastically, said the time calls for a
conscious effort to encourage farming Palm oil developement so as to increase production.
He pointed out that focussing on using oil palm production to serve as a net exporter and as an alternative to crude oil is the way to go for Government at level, lamented that between the 50s and 70s, the nation depended heavily on Agriculture, said the time to return to it has become apt.
Hon. Apeh described the old oil palm trees in Aloma numbering about 4000 hectares as unproductive, disclosed that only 1000 of the trees are productive, an action he pointed out calls for a rethink and the need to plant new yielding palm oil varieties.
He charged the participants at the workshop to think of strategies that would help replace the old palms in the state towards getting improved yields and to create the right produce in the State.
The Commissioner tasked the participants to device means that will help stem the effect of carbon dioxide, climate change and suggest ways for replacement of oil palm for Sustainable Communities in the state.
In a presentation by Friday Ogezi, Program Officer ActionAid Nigeria, on the effects of deforestation and non replacement of oil Palm trees on low carbon areas; The need for sensitization/Community response to positive action to environmental protection, decried the effect of carbon dioxide on health, life and water.
He stressed the need for low carbon dioxide areas and less reliance on utilization of energy sources from fosils fuels.
He called for the urgent need to replace worn out palm trees, emphasized the need for alternate crops and farming systems that will help conserve and promote afforestation.
Mr Ogezi stressed the need to promote environmental protection through replacement of oil palms, increase consciousness towards promoting afforestation, described palm oil production as adviseable for the nation’s growing population.
In a welcome remarks, James Odiba, representative of Solidaridad, said the workshop aims at acquainting and sensitizing stakeholders on the importance of palm oil tree production, added that the meeting is equally aimed at protecting the environment to make palm oil production thrives.