Nigeria gives harvesters to boost oil palm productionStaff writer ▼ | December 5, 2013
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwumi Adesina, said in Uyo on Mondayat the 1st International Palm Produce Conference IPPC "Investment in Oil Palm and its Derivatives: A Panacea for African Economic Growth and Sustenance".
The minister said that this would address the challenges faced by farmers in harvesting fresh fruit bunches. The motorised harvesters, he said, have the capacity to harvest between 500 and 900 fresh fruit bunches per day; adding that before now, 70 per cent of mature fresh fruits were under-harvested.
The minister said the ministry was currently fabricating better mills for small and medium-scale plantations as well as processors to be made available to farmers across the country. He added that under the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan, the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research, NIFOR, had intensified efforts to produce improved oil palm seedlings, with about nine million improved seedlings to be raised and distributed to farmers under the project.
Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State said that the theme of the conference was apt, as the hope of the country was no more on crude oil, but agriculture. He said that Nigeria must return to embrace agriculture, as the country was well endowed in this sector; adding that investing in agriculture would boost employment opportunities in the country and reduce youth restiveness.
The three-day conference was organised by the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, in collaboration with National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria, NPPAN. ■