The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has revealed that Nigeria was spending about $500 million yearly on importation of oil palm.
At a National Workshop organized in Abuja by Solidaridad, an international NGO, senior government officials and stakeholders agreed to work towards reducing the continued import of the commodity.
Deputy Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, FMARD, Bernard Okata, said “The partnership is to move the oil palm sector forward.
“Our current local requirement for oil generally is about three million metric tonnes but we are producing about 1.02 metric tonnes of oil palm.
“So there is a gap. We import to make up for this gap and Nigeria is spending about $500m annually for this importation up till now.”
Okata explained that the volume of oil and fat that Nigeria requires was about three million metric tonnes, but it had been difficult to meet this demand.
He said, “We have oils from groundout, soybean and all that. But from oil palm alone, we are producing 1.02 million MT, while from other oils we produce 1.7 million MT and so the shortfall is about 350,000MT.
“So the significance of this partnership is to ensure that the foreign exchange is channelled to the development of other activities if we can expand our oil palm production to satisfy our local industries.”