The Okitipupa Oil Palm (OOP) Plc has embarked on measures aimed at consolidating the company to respond effectively to emerging challenges and reclaim its past leading glory in the industry.
The oil giant has now partnered with the Nigerian Institute For Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), Benin, Edo State for a massive re-training of its personnel in line with the vision of the new management and the Board to restructure and re-position the company for optimal performance.
The Managing Director of the company, Taiwo Adewole in a statement, said the over 32 participants at the week-long seminar held at its Corporate Headquarters, Okitipupa, Ondo State, were drawn from all the key sectors of the firm with the hope of equipping them with the latest skills and knowledge essential to working in a modern oil palm industry, driven by technology.
The seminar was planned as a deliberate follow-up to the recent restructuring of the operation and services of the firm, which included contracting out some of its operations, out-sourcing some of its services and renting out to private individuals, small scale farmers and small scale oil palm processors, some of its plantations which covered over 10,000 hectares.
In his opening remarks, Adewole said the training, apart from exposing participants to skills and knowledge, would also make them key properly into the objective, mission and vision of the new operators of the company.
The Managing Director said the choice of NIFOR was not an accident but that it was part of the road-map of the new management team when it took over about three years ago to regularly inject new strategies into the firm with a view to accelerate the attainment of the new mission and vision of the company. He added that to achieve this objective, NIFOR with its array of international experts in the oil palm industry, was the place of first choice.
Underscoring the importance of the training, Adewole said, “ This training is record breaking because for over 10 years, staffers of this company have not got this kind of opportunity, as the place was completely grounded due to mis-management and corruption, but today with the support of the Board, the issue of corruption, inefficiency and mis-management has been successfully tackled, especially with our cashless policy and out-sourcing of services and operations.”
According to him, the new team has also broken the record in the payment of the annual statutory fees to land owners/communities where the plantations are located, which had accumulated to over 10 years arrears and run into several millions of naira.
The company, he said, had successfully tackled cases of illegal harvesting and theft of its fresh fruits by unscrupulous youths in the host communities which had led to many bloody attacks on its staff and security personnel posted to secure the plantations.
To solve this problem, which had become a very lucrative business for criminals, Adewole said the firm adopted the policy of renting out some of these plantations to private individuals mostly from the host communities, by so doing, the communities had now indirectly taking ownership of the plantations. This strategy, he noted, had created jobs for many people in the communities just as they are now responsible for securing the plantations and other OOP facilities located there.