FG trains Oil palm farmers, distributes farm implements in Edo

From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) in conjunction with the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), yesterday, trained oil palm farmers on pest and soil fertility management to boost its production in Edo State.

The Ministry also distributed 200 oil palm fruit harvesting chisel and 1000 liters of organic path-away fertilisers to the farmers during the training.

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Alhaji Muhammed Abubakar, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development declared the two days capacity building opened in NIFOR Benin,

He said oil palm value chain was among commodity value chains being promoted by the ministry hence the need to build the capacity of stakeholders in the sector

Represented by the Deputy Director of the ministry, Chukwuemeka Ukattah, Abubakar said the training was aimed at ensuring that Nigeria become the leading producer of oil palm.

“Some of the achievements recorded by the ministry in its bid to improve the oil palm value chain include the production of 180,000 improved tenera sprouted nuts by NIFOR.

“To be distributed to oil palm farmers in the 27 oil palm producing states, established two equipped oil palm processing centers for the production of crude palm oil.

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“Other farm inputs are procured to be distributed to farmers are palm nut cracker and separator, oil palm chisel and motorised harvesters among others,” he said.

Also speaking, the State Director, Edo FMARD office, Mr Wellington Omoragbon said the ministry had organized a series of capacity building and potential programs along the value chains of yam, rice, cassava, potato and cashew among others.

Omoragbon lauded the management of FMARD especially the permanent secretary, Dr Ernest Umakhihe for the workshop and potential programs in Edo

He said the ministry had also provided agricultural infrastructure support services to farming communities in Edo in the form of feeder roads, rural water supply, solar street lights which NIFOR benefitted from recently.

In his welcome address, Dr Celestine Ikuenobe, the Executive Director of the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) urged the farmers to take advantage of the workshop to earn better income.

Ikuenobe, represented by a director, Dr Isona Gold, said NIFOR was committed to repositioning the oil palm sector to be a very significant sector of the economy providing employment and income.

The coordinator of training
and Head of Extension Services Department, NIFOR, Dr Solomon Olusegun said NIFOR would continue to improve the oil palm sector through training for all stakeholders in the sector.

Olusegun who explained that participants from 24 states attended the training and urged them to use the opportunity to ask questions about oil palm production, pest control and soil management.

Mr Joe Onyiuke, the National President Oil Palm Growers Association of Nigeria (OPGAN) thank the federal government for its efforts at reviving the oil palm sector in Nigeria through capacity building and intervention funds.

Onyiuke said” the training is very important because it will teach farmers how to control pest and manage plants to get improved harvest.

“We have come to learn from the experts. There a lot of things that people do not know about oil palm and its derivatives.

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