Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, will tomorrow launch a N69 billion intervention programme Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP) to rejuvenate the oil palm sector in the state for global competitiveness.
The event, organised by the Edo State Government, the CBN and the Plantation Owners Forum of Nigeria (POFON), will provide a platform to engage with stakeholders in the oil palm business.
In a statement, Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Crusoe Osagie, said ESOPP is an innovative platform intended to harness the state’s rich oil palm heritage to diversify the local economy, create jobs, and increase productivity in a sustainable manner.
He said 120,000 hectares is planned for the programme, but the first phase would cover an area of 51,000 hectares, noting that funding from the CBN would constitute over 70 percent of the intervention, which would be targeted at estate owners and small holder farmers, given at single-digit interest rate with five-seven years moratorium.
Some investors in the ESOPP expected at the parley include Dangote Dansa Farms; Bruk Plantations Edo Limited; Saro Africa; FDGB Group (Malaysians); Ella Lakes Plc; De United Foods Industries (Dufil); Platform Capital; WACOT Limited; TGI Group; A and Hatman Ltd.; Saturn Farms (Nosak Group); Agro Allied Business (FMN); Farmforte Agro Allied Solutions and Masini Limited.
Osagie said the Obaseki-led administration is keen on diversifying the state’s economic base, with agriculture as a major lynch-pin, adding that the programme adds to the numerous other reforms implemented in the agriculture sector to boost food security.
He said the unique feature of the programme is the ability to create a catalytic effect in the food, pharmaceutical, beauty and cosmetics sectors of the state, as these sectors utilise produce from the plantation as raw material for their products.