Kogi State Government of Nigeria is partnering with Solidaridad, a global non-governmental organisation (NGO) to improve oil palm production and the livelihood of smallholder oil palm farmers in the state.
The project is aimed at building farmer’s capacity to implement best management practices, intensification and rehabilitation efforts.
In a statement, Solidaridad said the project would teach the farmers sustainable climate-smart practices for increased productivity.
The NGO will also introduce innovation for improved downstream processing to increase palm oil extraction rate and quality, create a competitive oil palm sector through policy and institutional dialogue and influencing, and improve access to finance, inputs and markets for oil palm smallholder farmers and SMEs.
The government recently showed its commitment to the laudable initiatives of the company through an intent letter expressing its readiness to partner with Solidaridad in its capacity building initiatives of smallholder farmers in the state.
According to Senior Climate Specialist for Africa Solidaridad, Samuel Ogallah, the intent letter from the state shows the willingness of the governor to revitalise agricultural practices in the state for the benefit of the people.
To him, the state stands to benefit from the expertise of Solidaridad in the area of climate-friendly agriculture, which the NGO has demonstrated around the world in the last 50 years of its existence.
“The capacity of farmers will be enhanced through increased productivity and better livelihood, the project will build adaptive capacity and resilience to the impact of climate change, and with the adoption of climate-smart technology, the emission of Green House Gas, (GHG), will be reduced in their practices both at the farm and milling level,” he said.
Oil Palm Programme Manager SWA Nigeria, Kenechukwu Onukwube, the recent buy-in of Solidaridad’s NISCOPS programme by the government is the right step towards revitalisation of the oil palm sector, as the state is vital in the production of the commodity in the country.
According to him, the initiatives of Solidaridad are important because “Kogi is one of the states in Nigeria with rich oil palm belt”.
Onukwube praised the government of Kogi for being the first among other states like Enugu, Cross River and Akwa Ibom to express interest and commitment through an official letter to Solidaridad.
He noted that NI-SCOPS’ objectives align with the state’s ‘New Direction Blueprint Agenda for the Agricultural Sector.’
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture Idenyi Emmanuel suggested that Solidaridad should look inwards to other commodities such as cotton, cassava, cashew, soya beans, as well as minerals like gold, iron ore, coal, which are in abundance in the state.