Okomu Oil Palm Company, has launched the pilot phase of its smallholder scheme with oil palm farmers from its neighbouring communities around the main estate plantation in Ovia South West Local Government Area.
Speaking at the official launch of the scheme at the Palace of the Iyase of Udo, the Agriculture Coordinator, Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc, Mr Billy Ghansah, said over the years, Okomu had been looking for ways in collaborating with local farmers in its neighbouring communities by offering technical supports to the farmers.
The pilot phase of the smallholder scheme, Mr Billy revealed, is to start buying fresh fruit bunches (FFB) from the farmers pending when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other financial institutions’ participate in the scheme by giving out loans to farmers who intend to venture into oil palm farming.
He said to make the process transparent and beneficial to all, Okomu had involved credible international organisations like Terra Agric to liaise with the farmers.
He added that farmers wishing to sell their FFB to Okomu are advised to join any cooperative society registered with the company or form a cooperative society and register with the company as Okomu would not be dealing with individual farmer.
Mr Billy Ghansah opined that with the cooperative society, it would be easier and faster for farmers to access loans from financial institutions, adding that the farmers would also benefit from the firm’s technical support, easy access to quality seedlings and training on global best practices.
On his part, the chairman, Terra Agric Commodities, one of the major players in the scheme, Mr Jasper Easi, informed the Iyase of Udo and the farmers present at the launch that the company would serve as an aggregator that would be responsible for creating readily available market for the farmers to sell their product.