• State allocates 70,000 ha to agro-industrial companies, courting more
• CBN says it is ready to support more agribusinesses
While Indonesia, the world’s largest producer of palm oil used (in cosmetics, edible oil and a range of other products) has banned exports of refined, bleached and deodorized palm oil, Nigeria is recording a marginal expansion with an addition of 10,000 hectares to the cultivated area in Nigeria by JB Farms Limited, an indigenous Nigerian investor in plantations.
Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, during the inauguration of the farm in the Ore region of the state last week, took the opportunity to invite more agro investors -allies, saying the state had donated about 70,000 hectares of land to integrated commercial farms.
Akeredolu also revealed that an organization in Asia will set up an oil palm research and seedling production center at Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa.
He added, “We are fully committed to the development of the entire oil palm value chain.”
However, data on global palm oil production from IndexMundi by The Guardian ranks Nigeria fifth with 1.4 million metric tons per year.
Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Colombia are ranked first to fourth with 46.5, 19.8, 3.2 and 1.8 million metric tons respectively.
The farm manager, JB Farms, Dr. Emmanuel Awelewa also said with data available that Nigeria has a shortage of around 1.4 million metric tons after an annual production of around 1.1 million. and a consumption of approximately 2.5 million metric tons.
The President of the Plantation Owners Forum of Nigeria (POFON), Mr. Emmanuel Ibru, giving an overview of the causes of the shortfall in production, said that apart from land issues, reasonable funding to develop plantations n is not available.
“To properly develop one hectare of oil palm plantation, it takes $4,000 to $5,000 and the gestation period is at least three years,” Ibru said.
However, to address the land issue and in line with the state’s Red Gold initiative, Akeredolu approved the 10,000 hectare JB Farms oil palm plantation in Ore.
He said: “This is a farm that we plan to have on a total area of 10,000 hectares and more, and this is only the first and I think it will be more than that. I say this because we are well on our way to discovering the effects of having this farm.
Akeredolu urged traditional rulers and individuals in the state to assist the government in revitalizing the palm oil sector as the growth and development of the sector would benefit the people.
“Today I am super excited to be a part of this opportunity, especially as I will be planting the first seedling on this farm. I am truly honored to be a part of this and envision this facility will facilitate the creation of jobs.
“To date, we have given around 70,000 hectares to investors; about five or six of them. We also recognize that the tree crop value chain is one of the key areas where we have comparative advantages. We are committed to improving and increasing the production of three crops: cocoa, oil palm, cashew, rubber and coffee. These strategies also aim to improve the livelihoods of Ondo State residents.
The governor said the state needs to develop its internally generated revenue so that it does not become a beggar state dependent on monthly crude oil resources.
MEANWHILE, Managing Director and Founder of JB Farms, Ajibola Bankole Adebutu, said the integrated farm would employ as many as 10,000 direct workers, contribute to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and help fill the supply gap in a context of forex restriction for food. imports.
Adebutu, recounting how the state made this happen, said, “We have been operating from Ogun State for some time and we are looking for opportunities to expand our operations. We reached out to one or two other states, but maybe they saw us as little boys and weren’t interested. But on a fateful day last year, I had the opportunity to meet the Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu.
“And, I prepared my whole speech and I sat in front of him and gave the best speech I’ve ever given in my life, and when I finished my whole story, he said, ‘ there is something wrong with your presentation,’ my heart sank and he said to me, ‘it is you who wants to come and invest in my state, I should be the one who begs you and not you who begs me.’
He praised the government for not underestimating his ability as an indigenous actor and giving his business an opportunity.
Adebutu said the farm would be fully planted within five years and a 60 ton per hour palm processing plant would be built. Steam-generating turbines would also be set up to generate electricity for the entire estate, using the waste from the oil palm fruits. “So we intend to be pretty environmentally friendly,” he said.
In addition, Ondo State Governor’s Senior Special Assistant for Agribusiness, Mr. Akin Olotu commended the investor for a bold step in oil palm investment in India. State.
Olotu said, “We all realize the significance of what is happening today but I am bold to say that Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN has brought back the lost glory of Ondo State.
“Several years ago, the Okitipupa oil palm was the largest in West Africa, but over time it has fallen into the water. We thank God that it is preparing, this is not only the case today, but Mr. Akeredolu’s ‘Project Red Gold’ is repositioning Ondo State, not just for now, but for years to come.”
He revealed that with the integration of the oil mills into the farm, the JB Oil Palm plantation would directly and indirectly employ a minimum of 40,000 people.
Olotu also revealed that six other such projects are underway in the state, saying, “I also tell people that it’s a shame that we can’t put this in the heart of Ondo town so that the people can see but a lot has been done and accomplished the Governor has successfully repositioned Ondo State and I make this prophecy that the year is coming when the Governor of Ondo State and even the Commissioner of Finance will not attend FEC meetings; they will just ask a director of the ministry to represent us because we would have developed the IGR enormously.
He said that of the three major sources of edible oil in the global market, oil palm is the most consumed and where the state and country have comparative advantages.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), represented by the Head of Perennial Crops, Mr. Abdul Razak, said that JB Farms is the only indigenous oil palm company in Nigeria to successfully partner with the bank. umbrella.
“I can boldly say in CBN that to date, our biggest partner is JB Farms. We have partnered with them in other regions, especially in Ogun and Cross River States, where they have cultivated 4,200 hectares while assessing CBN intervention funds.
“Of course, the loans have been fully repaid, and I can tell you they are doing passionately and wonderfully well.”
He said that apart from employment, corporate social responsibilities like roads, schools and hospitals would be collateral benefits for host communities.
The CBN representative said, “We can see what is happening in the South-South area where you are doing so much and the same is happening here.
To host communities and royal fathers, he said: “Please I urge you to give this support to JB Farms.”
He encouraged others to emulate JB Farms, saying, “If others can do it, it will certainly be very good not only for us but also for the nation as a whole. At CBN, we’re ready to partner with any plantation company or farm willing to do the same as JB Farms does.
JB Farms started in 1998 with eight hectares of plantation in Iperu, Ogun State and expanded to become a 4,000 hectare commercial farm in Odogbolu Local Government Area of Ogun State. ‘Ogun and 4,200 in Oban, Cross Rivers State.
To industrialize the plantations and maximize the value chain benefits in the industry, a 15 ton/hour palm oil mill and 12 ton/hour palm oil mills have been set up in Odogbolu and Oban respectively.
In addition to palm oil plantations and processing, as is done in well-developed economies, the crushing, extraction and use of palm kernels through ancillary activities in the value chain, such as soup production, have been explored with a 52 expeller palm kernel crushing plant and a four ton/hour soap making plant in Ogun State.
Palm oil is used in foods (68%) such as margarine, chocolate, pizzas, breads and cooking oils; in industrial applications (around 27%) for products such as soaps, detergents, cosmetics and cleaning products and bioenergy (5%) such as biofuels for transport, electricity or heat.
When asked why his focus on the oil palm value chain when his contemporaries are investing in oil marketing, Adebutu told The Guardian that: “It’s the future. Forget these things, because they belong to the past. Agriculture is the future.