The Oil Palm Industry In Nigeria
About thirty nine years ago, Nigeria was a large exporter of palm oil and has been for many years before then.
You have probably read about the oil rivers of the last century. Well, they were no so-called because there were oil rigs dotted around them as now, but because of the export of palm oil from the region.
Nigeria is a big country well blessed with all kinds of profitable natural resources by God, but they lack effective management of all of them.
Palm oil is also very important to us at home as we use it a great deal in our cooking. Some of you may like groundnut oil soup better, but it is not as good for you as palm oil. Palm oil is rich in vitamins A and D and helps to protect us fro diseases. So isn’t it a pity that today we have become importers of palm oil instead of exporters?
Nigeria is well blessed with many mineral resources but our leaders are killing us and not ready to help the situation.
If the government of Nigeria rise and do the needful, Nigeria would have been one of the most wonderful country in the world today.
There are many reasons for this. First, the civil war destroyed many oil farms in the areas where it was the main livelihood of the people. The south of our country is a natural home for palm trees, having the right condition, a hot humid climate and rich soil. Then the petroleum boom in the country hit like a cyclone. It had a devastating effect on the palm oil industry as upon agriculture in general. In a get-rick-quick rush to the urban centres by looking for jobs in the new industries and factories, young men forgot all about harvesting the oil palms: there was easier money to be picked up and an exciting city life as well.
As a result people like me who had modest oil palm farms in the south had the heart break of being unable to keep their farms weeded, let alone get the nuts harvested.
So it was, that gradually, we became importers instead of exporters of palm oil.
For some years now, successive Federal Governments have been worried about this. They have realized that it is essential to revive this vital industry so that instead of costing us precious foreign exchange, palm oil can earn us a little more of those much-needed currencies – provided we produce high quality oil in sufficient quantity.
The five hundred million naira that the Federal Government has injected into the industry in an effort to reactivate it should prove an effective shot in the arm. As well as opening a seven hundred million naira Federal Palm Oil Mill at Elere Adubi in Ifo Ota, the Federal Government is urging the private sector industrialists to go into palm oil planting and processing. In addition, in order to ensure that seedlings are available to prospective farmers, it has also directed each state ministry of Agriculture to set up an extension service board. Finally,
Local farmers are being encouraged to intensify the harvesting of oil palm produce and to establish new oil palm farms to make sure that the new mill has a regular and sufficient supply of raw materials.
Also the government of Nigeria need to succumb together and plan for the future and rebranding of Nigeria.
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