An ambitious plan, which is expected to lift Nigeria to the world’s third-largest palm oil producer, was announced yesterday by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The plan is to overtake Thailand and Columbia as major palm oil producers.
Addressing stakeholders in the palm oil industry in Abuja yesterday, CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele stated: “Our ultimate vision is to overtake Thailand and Columbia to become the 3rd largest producer over the next few years.”
The CBN boss noted: “If we had kept pace with our peers in supporting improved cultivation of palm oil, at the current global market price of $600 per tonne, and an assumed production level of 16m tonnes, Nigeria could have generated close to $10bn worth of foreign exchange for the country.
“This analysis does not take into consideration the amount of jobs that could have been created in our rural communities from large scale smallholder developments.”
To achieve this, the CBN governor is advocating for improved financing.
He said: “With regards to improving access to finance for smallholder farmers focused on cultivation of palm oil, the Bankers Committee has established a special sub-committee to make recommendations on sustainable financing models for oil palm and four other critical agricultural commodities that include cocoa, sesame seed, shea-butter, animal husbandry and cashew.
“As part of the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) and our Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS), the CBN will work with large corporate stakeholders and smallholder farmers to ensure availability of quality seeds for this years planting season and agro-chemicals in order to enable improved cultivation of palm oil.
“We will also work to encourage viable off taker agreements between farmers and large-scale palm producing companies.
“Loans will be granted through our ABP and CACS programs at no more than nine per cent p.a to identified core borrowers.
“With an estimated three million hectares of land under cultivation, abundance of suitable arable land, we need the cooperation of our state Governments in the oil palm producing zones to make land available to investors with proven financial and technical capabilities, who will be able to support developments of large scale palm oil plantations in the country.”