Nigeria’s north central state of Benue has set an ambitious agenda to make Nigeria a global Oil Palm hub using the Tenera Hybrid variety of the economic crop as the driver.
Working through the Alia Palm Project (APP), a non-governmental organisation supported by experts and relevant stakeholders, the project group has began the process of sensitization of potential patrons and participants in the project through a clustered meeting prototype called Farm Hall.
The Tenera oil palm, a high-yielding hybrid variety is an early maturing variety that could be ready for harvest within 22 to 24 months, and has a longevity up to 25 years.
At the first leg of the Farm Hall held recently in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, Agriprenuer and one of the anchors of the Farm Hall sensitization series, 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.