Cross River State government in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture has commenced the distribution of over 40,000 oil palm seedlings to farmers in Nsan Oil Palm site in Akamkpa Local Government and Igoli in Ogoja Local Government areas in the state.
The State Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr James Aniyom, said the oil palm transformation value chain was being supported by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in pursuance of the Federal Government Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA)
Aniyom informed NaijaAgroNet that the objective of the programme is to increase vegetable oil production through increase of oil palm production and processing in order to achieve import substitution and cancel deficit of 300,00mt, which was annually met through import.
It will be recalled that under GES allocation, registered oil palm growers are entitled to 50 oil palm seedlings, which will be given to them free while other inputs like 1½ bags of NPK 12: 12; 17 fertiliser; ¼ bundle of wire collar and 2 litres of touch-down herbicide have been subsidised at 50 percent rate by both the federal and state government.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Akinwunni Adesina, represented by Cross River State Director, Federal Ministry Of Agriculture, Asibopong Bassey, said Nigeria produces about 1.3mt of oil palm and imports 300,000mt annually, amounting to $500 million in foreign exchange which the federal government has set out to bridge through ATA.
In his remark, the chairman of oil palm growers association, Cross River State, Owali Ilem, advised the Federal Government to show commitments to the agricultural sector by complying with AU Maputo declaration by allocating 10 percent of its annual budget to agriculture.
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pix: Cross River State Gov. Liyel Imoke