The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has said the state government will be collaborating with PRESCO Plc on the development of high yielding oil palm seeds as part of the Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP), an initiative by the governor to revive the sector for global competitiveness.
The governor disclosed this while receiving the Chairman, Board of Directors, PRESCO Plc, Mr. Pierre Vandebeeck, on a courtesy visit at the Government House in Benin on Tuesday. Obaseki said the development of the high yielding seeds was necessary to make the business more profitable for farmers as oil palm has a long gestation period.
The governor said, “We want to collaborate in the area of research to have one of the world’s best planting materials. This is so that we can go back to where we used to be in terms of oil palm production in the world.
“PRESCO has a laboratory in Europe and they are thinking of expanding the laboratory here to Nigeria so that they can reproduce high-quality planting materials.
” He said discussions were also ongoing with PRESCO on supporting the state in the implementation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Oil Palm initiative and for the company to expand to other locations in the state. In his response, Vandebeeck said the company has a technology of multiplying seeds, called in-vitro culture that it intends to establish in Nigeria.
He said the Edo State Government has shown willingness to collaborate on the development of the technology in the country, which would also benefit smallholders oil palm farms.
“We want to create a special company in Nigeria for the propagation and distribution of high yielding planting materials,” noting that Edo remains a perfect destination for its business going by ease of doing business, friendly government policies and hospitality of the host community.
Vandebeeck added that the visit to the governor was also to request for more land to expand its oil palm plantation.
Recall that the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, at the launch of the ESOPP, committed N69billion as part of efforts to revive the country’s oil palm industry.