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Nigeria spends $500m annually on palm oil importation, says CBN

CBN Gov., Mr. Godwin Emefiele

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, on Monday said that over
five hundred million dollars was being spent annually on importation of palm

Emefiele said this at a
stakeholders’ meeting on the Palm Oil Value Chain held in Abuja.
The meeting was attended by
the Governors of Akwa Ibom, Edo and Abia. Also, the managers of Dangote Farms,
Flour mills, United Food Industries and Dufil Frima Foods Plc, among others
were at the meeting.
Emefiele said that it was a
sad fact that the country was still importing palm oil in spite sufficient
arable land in the South-South and South-East regions of the country to farm
He recalled that in the
late 50’s and 60’s, Nigeria was not only the world’s leading producer of palm
oil, but it was also the largest exporter of palm oil, accounting for close to
40 per cent of the global market share.
He said that right now,
Malaysia and Indonesia were the top producers of palm oil and Nigeria the
fifth, after getting their seeds and learning how to cultivate oil palm from
“This conversation is
indeed important as it forms part of our overall strategy to reduce our
reliance on crude oil imports, diversify the productive base of our economy,
create jobs and conserve our foreign exchange.
“Despite placing oil palm
in the forex exclusion list, official figures indicate that importation of palm
oil had declined by about 40 per cent from the peak of 506,000 Metric Tonnes
(MTs) in 2014 to 302,000 MTs in 2017.
“This indicates that
Nigeria still expends close to 500 million dollars on oil palm importation
annually and we are determined to change this narrative.
“We intend to support
improved production of palm oil to meet not only the domestic needs of the
market, but to also increase our exports in order to improve our forex
earnings,” he said.
To this end, Emefiele said
that all the state governors in South-South and South-East, Nigeria had agreed
to provide at least 100,000 hectares each for large scale oil palm farming.
He said that with the help
of the state governments, Nigeria could reach self-sufficiency in palm oil
between 2022 and 2024 and ultimately overtake Thailand and Columbia to become
the third largest producer over the next few years.
“As part of our Anchor
Borrowers Program (ABP) and Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS), the
CBN will work with large corporate stakeholders and small holder farmers to
ensure availability of quality seeds for this year’s planting season.
“We will also ensure the
availability of agro-chemicals in order to enable improved cultivation of palm
“We will also work to
encourage viable off taker agreements between farmers and large-scale palm
producing companies.
” Loans will be granted
through our ABP and CACS programs at no more than 9 per cent per annum to
identified core borrowers,” he said.
The CBN governor reiterated
that the restrictions earlier placed on the importation of textiles and other
ready-made clothing was for the good of the economy.
He said that in due course,
the CBN would introduce polices to address challenges in the cocoa, cassava,
beef/cattle ranching, dairy and fish sectors.
” Soon every region of our
beloved country will feel the positive impact of our intervention in the
agricultural sector.
“These efforts we hope will
not only enable us to conserve our foreign exchange, but also create jobs on a
mass scale.
“As these measures begin to
bear fruits, we are very optimistic that our states will become more
economically viable,” he said.
Also, the Governor of Edo,
Mr Godwin Obaseki, said the state was currently cultivating about 70,000
hectares of land of oil palm.
He also spoke on the need
to revive the moribund Nigerian Institute For Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), in
Benin to improve investment in research and production of quality oil palm
“We should understand that
for meaningful investment to come into the oil palm industry, we have to think
of other incentives to encourage manufacturers to turn oil palm to other
“What I mean is that palm
oil can be used to manufacture margarine, soaps, toothpaste and other things.
” We must also think about
how to create incentives for those who are currently in the business to explore
all the uses of palm oil to create job opportunities for our people,” he said.
Also, the Governor of Akwa
Ibom, Mr Udom Emmanuel, spoke on the need to educate oil palm small holder
farmers on the use of improved seedlings as a way to improve output. (NAN)

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