The President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has called on investors both at home and abroad to explore investments in the Palm produce in the country, NaijaAgroNet reports.
President Jonathan made this call recently while declaring open the first International Palm Produce Conference (IPPC) in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
He said investors could explore available opportunities in palm produce industry in Nigeria by taking advantage of investment friendly climate and various incentives that have been put in place by the present administration.
The 3-Day conference which was jointly organized by the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with the National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria (NPPAN) has as its theme “Investment in oil palm and its derivatives, a panacea for economic growth and sustenance”
In his address, delivered by the Hon. Minister of State for industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Samuel Ortom, President Jonathan pointed out that the aim of the landmark conference was to bring together global stakeholders to share ideas on new technological development and ways of improving the quality and availability of palm produce in order to maximize the growing investment opportunities in both domestic and international palm produce trade.
Also, a press statement made available to NaijaAgroNet by the Director, Press at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mr. Bolaji Kazeem, the Minister of State was quoted as saying that President expressed satisfaction with the timing of the conference because, it was holding at a time when the government has put in place all necessary policies to create enabling environment and framework for sustainable business and economic growth in agriculture commodities such as the oil palm where we have significant comparative advantage.
“As one of our cardinal goals under the Transformation Agenda, we are unrelenting in our effort to explore and unlock the enormous potentials of our agriculture. We are doing this through the rapid transformation of key agriculture value chains in order to meet our objective of adding additional 20 million metric tonnes of food to the domestic supply by 2015 and stimulate the creation of over 3.5 million jobs along the agriculture value chains,” he said.
Further, President Jonathan noted that his government has identified oil palm as one of the important commodities and key drivers to promote and has intensified efforts to provide enabling environment to accomplish this task.
He pointed out that Nigeria is an oil palm producing nation and was a foremost producer and exporter especially in the fifties and sixties, when the nation dominated the palm produce industry and became world largest producer and marketer between 1961 and 1965 contributing an average world production share of 39 percent. He regretted that we allowed this position to slip out of our hands.
Reassuring investors, he said his administration has resolved to return to the former glorious level of performance which is part of our overall commitment towards embarking on the sustainable expansion of the area under cultivation, promoting the replacement of semi wild grove with improved planting material, upgrading the quality and number of palm oil mills and vegetable oil refineries in the country, and expanding our domestic and international market outreach.
He commended the government and the people of Akwa Ibom state, his excellencies the Governor of Akwa Ibom state and the Governors of Palm oil producing states, government agencies, corporate bodies and international partners for various contributions towards the successful hosting of the conference.