The Federal Government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Solidaridad West Africa for the development of Nigeria’s oil palm sector.
In November 2020, it was reported that officials from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, states, agencies and non-governmental organisations revealed that Nigeria was spending about $500m annually on oil palm imports.
Senior government officials and other stakeholders had agreed to partner to reduce the continued import of the commodity.
As part of measures to cut down on palm oil imports, the government through the FMARD signed an MoU with Solidaridad to develop Nigeria’s oil palm industry.
This was disclosed in a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by the Programme Officer, Communications, Outreach and Networking of Solidaridad, Pita Ochai.
“Under the memorandum, Solidaridad will provide technical support to FMARD in the development of the oil palm sector,” the West African firm stated.
It added, “This will align with Solidaridad’s aim to support Nigeria’s capacity-building efforts to regain its leading role in the global production of the commodity.”
The firm said it had successfully built a rich database of farmers across the country, which would be of help to the FMARD in executing its policies in the development of agriculture, among others.
The Senior Climate Specialist, Africa and Country Technical Lead for Solidaridad in Nigeria, Samuel Ogallah, who signed for his firm, said the collaboration would contribute significantly to the agricultural development of Nigeria.
“The MoU is a welcome development as it will propel the efforts of Solidaridad West Africa and FMARD towards the achievement of food sufficiency and exports for the country,” he said.
This came as the FMARD, in a statement issued on Sunday, said it met with stakeholders to strategise on the cultivation of the approved varieties of sorghum across the country.
Nigeria is the world’s third largest producer of Sorghum after the United States and India.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, said the overall policy objective of sorghum production was to increase the productivity and promote small, medium and large scale commercial production of the crop.
This, he said, would be by using improved high yielding varieties and hybrids to promote value addition of the crop as raw materials for the industrial food markets, livestock feeds and well packaged food products for local and international markets.