The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), on Wednesday rounded up a two-day capacity building for members of the Oil Palm Growers Association of Nigeria (OPGAN), in Enugu.
The theme of the two-day capacity building, which began on Tuesday, was: “Oil palm farmers nursery establishment and field development, harvesting, processing and marketing”.
In his opening address, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammed Nanono said the capacity building was for 27 palm oil producing states of the federation.
Represented by a Director from the ministry, Mr Benette Ukattah, the minister said the Federal Government had devised some strategies for the palm oil value chain, including the production and distribution of improved Tenera Oil Palm sprouted nuts, a hybrid between dura and pisifera palms.
Similarly, the strategy encompassed promoting the use of motorised harvesters, medium scale processing equipment (MSPE), tricycle and automated nut cracker operator, in addition to building the capacity of oil palm farmers along the entire value chain.
Mrs Caroline Okoye, a Desk Officer of the Oil Palm Value Chain at the ministry, said that the first day of the capacity building was to discuss the way forward for the improvement of the sector.
“Today’s training centred on nursery establishment, to improve the farmers skills so as to reduce the challenges faced on the field. After the tutorial sessions of this training, we are going into the field for the practical aspects,” she said.
Mr Joe Onyiuke, the OPGAN National President said the two-day training was important to the farmers to improve their yields.
“This training helps farmers to learn new techniques through improve nursery, maintenance, to harvesting and marketing.
“Our major challenges are funds and the modern knowledge in palm oil farming, I believe this training will bridge the gaps,” he said.
Mr Arnold Jackson, the South-East Regional Coordinator, Nigeria Export Promotion Council, said there were potentials in oil production in the region.
“Every part of oil palm is useful, we need to let people know the benefits of moving out of the aspect of potential to actualisation.
“This is made real in standard harnessing of the products for export with good practice,” Jackson said.