Four oil palm producing states – Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Enugu, and Kogi – have endorsed the National Initiatives for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Oil Palm Smallholders (NISCOPS) project in Nigeria.
The initiative is the brainchild of Solidaridad West Africa (SWA) Nigeria with the support of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The endorsement comes after a two-day inter-state stakeholders forum organised by Solidaridad Nigeria in the four states where the NISCOPS project is being implemented.
In a statement, Solidaridad said the forum created the synergy between the different stakeholders in the oil palm sector for climate friendly approach to oil palm production.
Kene Onukwube, Programme Manager, Oil Palm, SWA, Nigeria, said the project was designed to ensure increased productivity of palm oil in an environmentally-friendly way and also improve the livelihood of small-holder oil palm farmers.
“The interest in NISCOPS from the four states is a good indication as the project is designed to transform oil palm production in the country with much concern to the environment during cultivation and processing,” he said.
He stated that the project would achieve for Nigeria, self-sufficiency in palm oil productivity, reduction in greenhouse gas emission at the mill level, and improvement in income and livelihood of small-holder oil palm farmers.
Dr Samson Samuel Ogallah, NISCOPS Technical Project Coordinator and Senior Climate Specialist for Solidaridad Africa, added that: “The NISCOPS project would transform the oil palm landscape and the sector sustainably and contribute to the goal of Paris Agreement through the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) in the four countries of Ghana, Nigeria, Indonesia and Malaysia where the project is being implemented.”
A lecturer and research consultant at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, Dr Okoli Rowland, who spoke at the event, said NISCOPS came at the time when the global demand for oil palm is on the increase due to multiplicity of use.
“Palm oil production has the capacity of engendering pro-poor development by lifting millions of rural poor out of poverty and contribute to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as evidence of that abound in Malaysia and Indonesia,” he stated.
Solidaridad said the choice of Akwa-Ibom, Enugu, Cross River, and Kogi for the NISCOPS initiatives is borne on the facts that they are among the largest producers of oil palm in the country.
“These states have the largest concentrations of independent smallholders accounting for 89 per cent of the palm oil production in Nigeria, and therefore provide a viable avenue to trigger smallholders’ embrace of sustainable climate-smart agricultural practices,” the statement said.