The Delta State Government has reiterated its commitment to key into the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Oil Palm Development Initiative (OPDI), to increase wealth and to promote economic growth in the state.
The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Julius Egbedi stated this at the stakeholders meeting of the CBN Oil Palm Development Initiative held at the Press Centre, Government House, Asaba.
According to the Commissioner for Agriculture, the CBN Oil Palm Development Initiative was geared towards creating an oil Palm belt in Nigeria and to revive the dwindling fortune of the commodity.
Mr Egbedi said the objective of the programme which prompted the interest of the Delta State government was to increase domestic production of oil palm through the efforts of individuals, communities and investors.
He explained that the effect of the initiative would be to meet local demand for oil palm, palm kernel oil, hydrogenated fat and to stamp out the importation of the items and create employment and wealth in the state.
The commissioner revealed that the CBN OPDI had planned to establishing 1, 200, 000 hectares of oil palm plantations between 2019/2023 and when properly implemented, would move the country from being the 5th position to the 3rd position in the World chart within the short term.
"The time to begin the expansion of the oil palm sector is now. The accelerated production of oil palm will reduce poverty in our communities., move the countrys overdependence crude oil economy and promote agriculture", Mr Egbedi stated.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural resources, Sir Austin Oghoro stated that in order to ensure that the farmers in the state participated in the CBN OPDI programme has directed that efforts be put in place to ensure compliance with the Round Table on Sustainable Oil Palm protocol in the programme.
Sir Oghoro stated that 28 communities in the state had provided land for the programme and the total area covered is about 33,000 hectares of land.
He also revealed that farmers would have loan given to them at a single digit interest rate that would be for a period of four years.
He urged interested farmer in the state to make good use of the opportunity provided by the CBN OPDI to invest in the oil palm business.