Abuja – As the price of oil continued to crash in the international market occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, Solidaridad’s Senior Climate Specialist for Africa, Dr Samuel Ogallah, has called on the Federal Government to invest in palm oil as a way of increasing the contribution of the agriculture sector to the national GDP.
The climate specialist added that investing in palm oil will reduce unemployment and poverty and create jobs for the masses in the country.
Calling on the private sector to join hand with Solidaridad in its effort in the country, Dr. Ogallah, said the role of private sector involvement in National Initiative for Sustainable Climate-Smart Oil Palm Smallholders (NISCOPS) programme in Nigeria is key to the success of the programme.
Solidaridad, a Dutch-based international development organization operating in five continents through eight Regional Expertise Centres, has within one year digitally profiled more than 18,500 smallholder oil palm farmers and millers in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Enugu and Kogi states in Nigeria.
Solidaridad, in a statement by its Programme Officer, Communications, Outreach and Networking, Pita Ochai, said that its effort is to support the government of Nigeria’s agricultural transformation policy agenda and the respective state governments to encourage more farmers embrace the oil palm intervention programme.
“These achievements are made possible through The Kingdom of the Netherlands funded National Initiative for Sustainable Climate-Smart Oil Palm Smallholders (NISCOPS) programme in Nigeria.
“The digital profiling of smallholder farmers and farm mapping is a continuous process in the lifespan of NISCOPS which started in 2019 through 2023 in the initial phase during which more smallholder farmers would be registered in the database of the programme.
“After the digital profiling and farm mapping, series of trainings have been lined up to build the capacities of the smallholder farmer on sustainable climate-smart oil palm production.
“NISCOPS supports the governments of Nigeria and Ghana to work with farmers towards more sustainable, climate-smart palm oil production, build capacity of smallholder farmers, organizations and local institutions to improve performance, facilitate development of mechanisms for sustainable landscapes and halting deforestation.
“The programme is also contributing to the objective of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” it said.
Solidaridad further said that “in its human capital development effort in Nigeria, 32 youth have been trained as enumerators in the use of digital tools for farmers’ and oil palm farm profiling in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Enugu and Kogi States.
Solidaridad West Africa, Oil Palm Programme Manager in Nigeria, Kene Onukwube said, “NISCOPS’ overall intervention pushes Nigeria’s march towards making the SDGs and the Paris Agreements a reality.”
He explaining that “profiling of oil palm farmers and their farms elevates Nigeria digital agriculture profile in two significant ways: it enhances the structural aggregation of oil palm farmers into organized farmer groups as well as strategically positioning them for increased economic investments through proposed institutional interventions by government (e.g. through NIRSAL and other key policies of the Central Bank of Nigeria) and private sector growth initiatives targeted at palm oil SMEs.”
He added that “in Nigeria, NISCOPS is being implemented by Solidaridad West Africa (SWA) in partnership with The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH). While SWA implements in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Enugu and Kogi States, IDH is implementing in Ondo and Edo states.”
Solidaridad West Africa operates in five countries of Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast. Since 2013, SWA (Nigeria) has trained over 27,000 farmers on Good Agriculture Practices (GAP).