Secretary General, DELCOM COOP, Chief Felix Okonti addressing the Emu community on Monday in Asaba, at the signing of a MoU between Emu Kingdom and DELCOM COOP for the acquisition of 93.7 hectares of land for oil palm plantation development in Emu Kingdom
By Ifeanyi Olannye
Emu kingdom in Ndokwa West Local Government Area on Monday joined other 67 communities in Delta to enroll into the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) oil palm plantation development initiative in the country.
The Secretary General, Delta State Commercial Oil Palm Plantation Growers Cooperation Society Limited (DELCOM COOP), Chief Felix Okonti, disclosed this when HRM, Johnson Ullu, EzeEmu of Emu kingdom led his subjects to sing a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the programme in Asaba.
According to Okonti, the MoU with Emu Kingdom brings the total number of participating communities to 68 across the state that have keyed into the CBN oil palm plantation programme in the country.
He said that the communities would be allocating over 100,000 hectares of land for the programme which was a prerequisite of the CBN to enable each state harness the full potential of the programme.
He said that the programme would be a win win for all participants, adding that the oil palm plantation ensures great returns on investment, particularly when the programme would be deploying the best and fast yielding varieties for cultivation.
Okonti noted that unlike the local variety of oil palm seedlings, 150 stands of improved seedlings per hectares has capacity to produce 48 tonnes to 60 tonnes of palm oil per hectare annually which guarantees great earnings after each harvest.
He said that every participating community or individual land owner, has three options; to sale the land, give it out on lease or participate in the venture and earn 22 per cent of the profit after tax as returns on investment annually.
According to Okonti, the programme is a partnership between the Delta government(Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources), CBN and Group of Investors.
“This is the first phase of the programme being anchored by the CBN and 14 states including Delta have been selected to benefit in this pilot stage.
“Also, each state is expected to provide 100, 000 hectares of land as the bank has earmarked N800 billion to finance the 1.4 million hectares.
“We missed the track during the advent of the crude oil money in the 70’s from being the leading producer of palm oil.
” But this MoU is looking back and if the country can actualise the target of cultivating 1.4 million hectares, Nigeria will regain its position as number one or at least number two in palm oil production in the world.
“It is regrettable that the CBN in 2018 budgeted about N500 billion to pay for products of oil palm produced imports, commodities that we have comparative advantage to produce in the country.”
He said that of the total of about 76 million metric tonnes of worlds palm oil production, Malaysia produces about 37 per cent while Nigeria produces only two per cent.
He thanked the monarch and people of Emu kingdom for singing into the programme while encouraging individuals, groups and various communities to make lands available and key into the programme.
On his part, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Ben Agamah, lauded the Emu Kingdom for their collective decision to participate in the programme.
According to him, oil palm is an endowed crop and palm oil is twice as expensive in the international market than the crude oil.
He urges more participation in the state to harness the potentials of jobs creation, wealth and economic development of the state and the country at large.
On his part, HRM, Johnson Ullu, EzeEmu of Emu kingdom, who spoke through a Palace Chief, Chief Godday Mgbaego, said they were keying into partnership to cultivate about 93 hectares of land in the Emu kingdom.
He thanks the state government for given them opportunity to participate in the programme.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the MoU is between Emu Kingdom and Group of Oil Palm Plantation Development Investors -all members of DELCOM COOP for the acquisition of 93.7 hectares of land for oil palm plantation development in Emu Kingdom under the CBN Oil Palm Development initiative.
HRM Johnson Ullu, led the signatories of the MoU for the community while Secretary General, Chief Felix Okonti, signed for DELCOM COOP.(NAN) (www.nannews.ng).
Edited by Isaac Aregbesola