The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), in collaboration with the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), has trained oil palm farmers on pest and soil fertility management in Edo.
The ministry also distributed 200 oil palm fruit harvesting chisel and 1000 liters of organic path-away fertilisers to the farmers during the training.
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Speaking at the event, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Muhammed Abubakar, said the training was aimed at ensuring that Nigeria became the leading producer of oil palm.
He said oil palm value chain was among commodity value chains being promoted by the ministry, hence, the need to build the capacity of stakeholders in the sector.
Represented by a Deputy Director in the ministry, Chukwuemeka Ukattah, Abubakar, said the ministry in its bid to improve the oil palm value chain, had embarked on the production of 180,000 improved tenera sprouted nuts by NIFOR.
He said the product would be distributed to oil palm farmers in the 27 oil palm producing states while two equipped oil palm processing centers for the production of crude palm oil would also be established.
“Other farm inputs procured to be distributed to farmers are palm nut cracker and separator, oil palm chisel and motorised harvesters among others,” he said.
Also speaking, the State Director, Edo FMARD office, Mr. Wellington Omoragbon, said the ministry had organized series of capacity building and empowerment programmes along the value chains of yam, rice, cassava, potato and cashew among others for farmers.
Omoragbon commended FMARD, especially the permanent secretary, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, for the workshop and empowerment programmes.
Earlier, the Executive Director of the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), Dr Celestine Ikuenobe, urged the farmers to take advantage of the workshop to earn better income.
Represented by Dr Isona Gold, he said NIFOR was committed to repositioning the oil palm sector to be a significant sector of the economy providing employment and income.
The coordinator of training and Head of Extension Services Department NIFOR, Dr Solomon Olusegun, said NIFOR would continue to improve the oil palm sector through training for all stakeholders in the sector.