By Joy Odigie
Benin – Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo is currently in Indonesia to strengthen his administration’s partnership with the Asian country on the development /commercialisation of the oil palm sector in Edo.
This was in a statement issued by Mr Crusoe Osagie, Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy to the Edo governor, which was made available to newsmen in Benin on Tuesday.
According to the statement, Gov. Obaseki said while speaking at the 101-year-old Indonesian Oil Palm Research Institute in Medan, that his administration was ready to diversify the economy of Edo by taking advantage of its oil palm industry.
He said the visit would explore the possibility of reaching agreements with the Indonesian government to support the development of the sector in Edo.
“We are poised to revamp the agricultural sector and reposition the state as the oil palm capital of Nigeria.
“With the present pace of research in the agricultural sector, oil palm can replace crude oil as a major source of food, industrial materials and energy,’’ the statement said.
Obaseki said discussions were already in progress to develop a business case to reinvigorate the oil palm sector in Edo at a commercial level.
He assured that the visit would yield results that the Edo agricultural sector requires to create jobs, raw materials for local industries, and produce for export.
The governor said it would also help to produce time-tested research approaches to strengthen institutes like the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) and the College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi.
Obaseki is accompanied on the visit by the Commissioner for Wealth Creation, Cooperatives and Employment, Mr Emmanuel Usoh, and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Kadiri Bashiru.
Indonesia is currently the largest exporter of palm oil in the world and its agricultural sector is the country’s most valuable export sector.
In 2014, Indonesia’s production figure for palm oil was 33.5 million tonnes and the product accounted for 11 per cent of export earnings of $5.7billion. (NAN)