A solution oriented civil society organisation, operating in Nigeria under the aegis of Solidaridad Nigeria, is advocating for a sustainable oil palm cultivation in Cross River State.
Programme manager for Oil Palm country management lead, Solidaridad Nigeria, Kenechukwu Onukwube made the advocacy during the ongoing multi stakeholders capacity building workshop for stakeholders in the oil palm sector taking place in Calabar, the Cross River State capital
Onukwube, who was represented by Solidaridad Nigeria’s Ernest Ita, who spoke on theme, “Reclaiming Sustainability In Nigeria”, stressed that oil palm farmers in the state can still increase their production capacity without depleting the state forest reserve.
He said: “We can still do oil palm without necessarily getting the rainforest depleted. This is achievable through adoption of best management practices.
“Agronomic practice that is considered cost effective and also have minimal negative impact on the environment.
“We discourage farmers from pulling and cutting down remnants of Cross River State forest that is left just because they want to cultivate oil palm.
“We have taught them best management practices which if applied can improve their yield.
“We advocate for intensification over expansion because of the attendant danger in deforestation.
“We mentioned things like green house gas, as a result of cutting down trees. Green house gas contributes to climate change, especially global warming.
“Climate change comes with disrupted pattern and unpredicted rainfall in frequency distribution. This to some extent affect the soil moisture availability.” Onukwube maintained.
Onukwube further suggested for the use of degraded forest area for cultivation of improved variety oil palm, rather than cutting down trees to regenerate or expand oil palm plantations.
In his earlier remarks, permanent secretary Cross River State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Jacob Udida, charged oil palm farmers to sit up, tap from what is learnt and put the knowledge to practice.
The permanent secretary assured the management of Solidaridad Nigeria of state government’s willingness to partner the organization in the development of oil palm sector in the state.