By Dipo Olowookere
It can rightly be said that the palm oil industry in Nigeria has gone from grace to grass because many years ago it was the world’s largest producer, but today it has fallen. on the fifth.
What could have caused this disgrace? That’s what CNN International’s Larry Madowo tried to find out in this week’s Marketplace Africa.
According to key industry players, Nigeria’s palm oil production has suffered from shortfalls, mainly due to the fact that 80 percent of production is driven by smallholder farmers.
Factors such as infrastructure delays, poor roads, blocked or blocked ports and lack of electricity make production much more expensive, manufacturers said.
But despite these issues, some producers are looking to weather the storm and put Nigeria back in the lead because they believe the future is bright for the sector and that is why a publicly traded company, Okomu Oil Plc, is working with it. small farmers to achieve this goal.
The company, which boasts of a 20,000-hectare plantation, revealed that Nigerian palm oil producers favor sustainable business practices in order to combat deforestation and preserve the natural biome. They are looking for environmentally friendly ways to generate electricity.
“We are also, as I mentioned earlier, very interested and involved with the small farmers to try to increase their production, and also to help them by being a company that will guarantee, guarantee the adoption of their product.” , said the general manager. of Okomu Oil, Mr. Graham Hefer, told CNN.
He added: âWe have also installed a five megawatt turbine, which is powered by steam from the oil mill, which will actually meet most of our internal energy needs for most of the year. “
Through innovation, Hefer hopes “to see an industry that in the future is highly sustainable.” One that is eco-friendly and works in unison with government and other stakeholders, throughout the pipeline, to create an industry that is second to none in the world.
As for the co-founder of the start-up Agritech, Relief, Mr. Ikenna Nzewi, technological innovation will create a better and more efficient value chain in the industry.
He said manufacturers have created West Africa’s most advanced palm nut shelling technology that allows them to shell the nuts and grind the almonds into crude vegetable oil before selling them to processors in fast moving consumer goods.