By Blessing Bature-Akpakpan,
To tackle the challenges of low yield due to aged oil palm trees, Solidaridad West Africa has trained 48 women and youths on oil palm nursery establishment, management, and Agri-business academy.
In his remarks at the event, Dr. Samuel Ogallah, Solidaridad Senior Climate Specialist for Africa and Country Technical Lead for Nigeria stated that Solidaridad is committed to the transformation of the agriculture sector in Nigeria through its programmes.
Ogallah said “With our over 50 years of global experience in this sector, we will continue to accelerate proven sustainable solutions towards speed and scale in the sector for the benefit farmers, producers and the country at large. We welcome collaboration with government at all levels, development partners, NGOs and the private sector in a partnership that works to achieve this goal”
He stated Solidaridad West Africa is implementing the Kingdom of the Netherlands NISCOPS and SDGP1 funded programmes in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Enugu, Kogi, Kaduna and Kano states of Nigeria, adding NISCOPS is improving the production of oil palm through best management and sustainable land-use practices and climate-smart agriculture.
The programme is aimed at improving the #income and #livelihoods of smallholder oil palm #farmers in the project implementing states and the national food security at large. The SDGP1 is aimed at transforming the Nigeria vegetable markets with improved nutrition and livelihood of farmers in Nigeria, he said.
As we have trained 48 women and youths, they will in turn step-down the training to farmer groups in their communities. These efforts will ensure aged oil palms in the implementing states are replaced with hybrid seedlings. On the agribusiness academy, Solidaridad will build the capacity of the women and youths on entrepreneurial skills. This is to enable them take advantage of the numerous opportunities in the oil palm value chain in their communities. The aim is to enhance income and livelihood of smallholder oil palm farmers.
“The benefiting women and youths are from different communities in the four states where Solidaridad West Africa is implementing the National Initiatives for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Oil Palm Smallholders (NISCOPS).
Matthew Idu, Commissioner for Agriculture, Enugu State, who declared the training opened, said Solidaridad’s effort will return Nigeria to its glory days in the production of palm oil where the crop contributed much to the gross domestic product of the country. He said that oil palm used to be one of the major sources of revenue for the government but was neglected after the discovery of crude oil. According to Idu, Solidaridad has brought hope, education and wealth to us through its interventions in the agriculture sector in Nigeria.
“This is a laudable project that will improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers, women and youths, as well as contribute to the growth of the Nigerian economy. I am happy that Solidaridad West Africa is taking Nigeria to its previous position to become one of the leading palm oil producers in the world. From what Solidaridad have started, I see a difference in the Nigerian oil palm sector in the next few years,” Idu said.
The 48 women and youths will in the next few weeks begin the transfer of the knowledge on oil palm nursery establishment, management, and agribusiness academy to farmers groups in all the NISCOPS communities in the four states. Solidaridad’s target is to raise over 40,000 seedlings this year in the four states and more will be raised as the oil palm intervention continues.