Benue govt moves to boost oil palm production

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Benue State Governor, Fr. Hyacinth Alia has said the state government is targeting 10,000 smallholder farmers under the Benue Alia Palm Project, BAPP, in the state.

Governor Alia disclosed this in Makurdi during a sensitisation meeting
with the Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and Heads of the Department of Agriculture in the state.

Represented by a member of the BAPP team, Mr Samuel Agwa, Gov Alia said his administration is set “to plant one million oil palms yearly and four million in the next four years and support 10,000 smallholder farmers to grow oil palms.

“We shall establish five processing mills to enhance value addition; create 20,000 direct jobs in the oil palm sector; increase oil palm production by 50 per cent in the next three years and promote sustainable farming practices and environmental protection.”

He described the Tenera oil palm as the most sought-after variety of oil palms due to its high-yielding capacity and potential to boost the income of local farmers.

Agwa encouraged the Heads of the Department of Agriculture in the state to embrace the project by taking the campaign to the grassroots to help local farmers plant them.

In his remark, the Special Adviser on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Dr Dennis Akura, says the third tier of government in the state is embracing the Benue Alia Palm Project with an initial planting of 23,000 oil palm seedlings across the 23 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Benue State this year.

He said the target is to plant one million seedlings yearly, effective 2025.

Earlier in his remark, Alex Addingi, Special Adviser to the Governor on International Investments said the Benue Alia Palm Project is an initiative of Governor Alia to make Benue State the hub of oil palms and lift thousands of families in the state out of poverty.

On his part, Prof Qrisstuberg Amua, while giving insight into the economic prospects of the project says the intention is to aggregate farmers for massive harvest and industrialisation, explaining that the Benue humidity is appropriate for growing oil palms.

He described the oil palm project as a veritable retirement plan, urging local farmers and the people of the state generally, to buy into it speedily, both for their domestic needs and financial freedom.

Speaking on behalf of the Heads of the Department of Agriculture Mr Yainjoh Godwin, Gboko, said they have learned new things about the oil palm and would take the campaign back home.

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