The Oil Palm Growers Association of Nigeria (OPGAN) on Monday called on the Federal Government to increase the level of funding for oil palm research and development.
OPGAN’s president, Mr Joe Onyiuke, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that such increase in funds would subsequently lead to increase in oil palm production in the country.
Onyiuke, who commended the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) on its efforts at repositioning the oil palm industry through research, said that the institute needed more funding.
“NIFOR is the number one institute for research on oil palm, and it is a glorious thing that Nigeria can today grow oil palm in the north, in Niger, Kaduna, Plateau and Taraba.
“So, what are we waiting for? Even with the small money it is receiving, NIFOR has done so much that today it has the tenera seedlings that within 36 months are already producing.
“NIFOR has been able to do that, and has increased yield per tonne such that the seedling can produce up to 36,000 tonnes; so we need massive support from the government.
“We need to get the necessary funding from the government to increase the production, and the multiplying effect is tremendous in terms of employment,’’ he said.
Onyiuke, who also noted the importance of research, added that research into the sector would support government’s effort at diversifying the economy thus, leading to less dependence on crude oil.
Available statistics showed that funding for NIFOR went down from N2.27 billion in 2010 to N1.57 billion in 2015, then, grew from N1.58 billion in 2016 to N1.94 billion in 2020.