The Oil Palm Growers Association of Nigeria (OPGAN) commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the Central
Bank of Nigeria ( CBN) under the Anchor Borrower Program (ABP) for empowering smallholder farmers.
During a stakeholder forum on investment and funding opportunities in the oil palm value chain for
oil palm growers in Abuja, the newly-elected President of the Association, Mr Joe Onyiuke, made the commendation.
Onyiuke clarified that strong passion and determination as well as willingness to increase
agriculture to improve the economy had so far been shown by the current administration.
He said that different organizations in the agricultural value chains had access
to CBN interventions and had therefore brought the sector to a certain extent.
He provided examples of the Buhari-led administration’s effort to revive the sub-sector of Cotton
Textiles and Garments, where some textile industries are now locally sourcing their cotton for production.
Onyiuke lamented the previous leadership’s inability to create a solid structure and organize the association properly,
adding that such members had limited access to the oil palm development funds recently disclosed by CBN.
Nevertheless, he said the CBN governor had recently held meetings with oil palm stakeholders,
but unfortunately OPGAN was unable to organize itself as an access to funds organization.
According to him, there is tremendous potential for the oil palm value chain
to put Nigeria back to where it should be in the palm oil industry.
He emphasized the need for the association’s
members to come together and organize themselves.
Onyiuke thanked the board of trustees who had taken it upon themselves to reposition the association, expressed appreciation
to the association for the faith put in the new leadership and vowed not to disappoint the association.
The new president vowed to run an organisation of openness and
accountability where financial transactions will be carried out in best practice.
“We need to bring oil palm back to the original status as it used to be a major foreign exchange earner for this country.
“Imagine, other countries that came here to take our seeds today are doing much better than us and are even earning much more than we earn from crude oil.
“So it is my desire to organise every smallholder farmer in Nigeria together and begin to do proper training and education” he added.
Nevertheless, he called on the Federal Government to provide the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research
(NIFOR) with sufficient funding, adding that it was the cornerstone for repositioning the sector for greater production.