A Benue State based non-governmental organisation has launched an ambitious Oil Palm project, tagged the Alia Palm Project (APP) aimed at propelling the state and Nigeria into the league of big producers of the economic crop.
The group, using the ‘Farm Hall’ as the platform for sensitisations, said the project would be utilizing the Tenera Oil Palm, a fast maturing hybrid variety of the crop as the preferred choice in the bid to make Benue State a global Oil Palm hub.
At the session held with stakeholders in Makurdi, Agriprenuer and one of the series anchors, Mr. Sam Agwa, disclosed that the Tenera palm has an unbeatable prowess that is primed on its ability to produce over 150 liters of red oil per tree yearly. This, according to him, translates to a potential ₦15 Million income for farmers with just 100 fruiting stands.
Speaking further on the project, Agwa said it is part of the plans by the current governor of Benue State, Hyacinth Alia, to trigger an oil palm revolution in Nigeria from Benue.
According to Agwa, “this project can transform Benue State into an oil palm industrial hub within the next 3-4 years,” stressing that mass adoption and cropping by individuals, households and communities holds the key to lifting millions of Benue’s and Nigeria’s impoverished population out of multidimensional poverty and into financial prosperity.
Prof. Qrisstuberg Amua of the British Canadian University, Obudu, in Cross River State of Nigeria, highlighted the enormous economic and developmental potential derivable from the numerous by-products of oil palm, with a wide spectrum of industrial value additions.
He urges the Benue State Government to adopt the oil palm as a star cash crop, citing the success stories of Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.
The ‘Farm Hall’ stakeholders’ sensitization, put together by APP mark the start of a transformative journey of a number of scheduled ‘Farm Hall’ sensitisation to hold from January to March 2024, as part of the Benue State Governor’s plan to subsidize over 2 million Tenera palm seedlings to Benue farmers this cropping season. This is intended to foster an accelerated tree crop economic growth and climate smart developmental sustainability.
Sessions were led by Rev. Fr. Gabriel Sule and Sir Alex Addingi, who stressed that APP’s pooling of private funding to ensure that quality hybrid seedlings are made directly available from Benue’s local nurseries.
Similarly, the project’s anchors have called on the public, especially women, girls, youth, and farmers to seize this opportunity by being part of a prosperous tree crop agricultural future.
Stakeholders at the event said the Alia Palm Project signals a dynamic shift towards a thriving oil palm economy, not just locally but with international footprints.