The Edo State government has called on the National Assembly to legislate on law banning the importation of farm produces that has impacted on local production, especially vegetable oil.
The Edo State Commissioner for Agriculture and National Resources, Mr Abdul Oroh made the call at his office in Benin City while playing host to the team leaders of the oil palm value chain, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, who were in Benin City for the 2013 special oil palm Growth Enhancement Support (GES) roll-out.
Oroh lamented that the unbridled importation of vegetable oil has negatively impacted local production, and canvassed that in adding to banning the importation, high tariffs should be introduced to encourage local production.
The commissioner appealed to the Federal Government to allocate 500,000 improved tenera oil palm seedlings to Edo State farmers out of the 4 million raised for distribution to farmers in 24 oil palm producing states.
He however noted that it is the wish of the state government that free distributions of the seedlings are made available to the farmers instead of subsidising it.
“I want to call on the National Assembly to legislate on law that will prohibit the importation of vegetable oil in the country. Lack of legislation regulating the importation of farm produces, especially that of vegetable oil, has negatively affected local production. I also want to advocate that the Federal Government should give farmers free inputs instead of at the subsidised rate,” he said.
He expressed the commitment of the state to producing 25 percent of Nigeria oil palm needs, adding that the 500,000 seedlings would go a long way to help in realising the target of the state.
He revealed that plans were at an advance stage for the state to signing a memorandum of understanding with the investors after playing host to some investors at the first ever agro-business summit held in the state last year.
Oroh, commended the minister of agriculture, Adesina Akinwunmi for his leadership role in transforming the nation’s agriculture sector and the organisational structure of Growth Enhancement Support (GES).
The leader of the oil palm value chain, Mr Dickson Okolo said the meeting was to finalise arrangement for the distribution of improved farm inputs to 30,000 oil palm farmers under GES.
The Minister Of Agriculture, Mr Adesina Akinwunmi Akinwunmi, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs Ibukun Odusote, stated that the main objectives of the value chain are to increase vegetable oil palm production and achieve import substitution by 2015, the yield and productivity of organised and unorganised plantings.
“The oil palm value chain is among the Agricultural Commodity Value Chains being promoted by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The ministry of agriculture has in the 2012/2013 fiscal year set up a target of raising 9 million improved tenera oil palm seedlings with potential yield capacity of 21mt ffb/ha and has already done 4 million,” she said.
She explained that the seedlings are being raised by public and private nursery operators of the 24 oil palm growing states, while the distribution of the improved seedlings to farmers will commence under the Special Oil Palms GES to plant new areas and expand existing holdings.
Odusote also said that a total of 49 public and private nursery operators are involved in the activities, adding that 18 estates benefited from the free nuts issued to them to raise and expand their plantation in order to annually achieve 500-550ha each.
*Pix: Gov Adams Oshiomole