The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has urged stakeholders in the palm oil industry to work towards ensuring a shared commitment to sustainable palm oil production in the African continent, calling on them to be part of the solution to the challenges facing the industry.
The governor said this at Africa’s third Sustainable Palm Oil Conference, hosted by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and Proforest, in Ghana, to discuss the long-term sustainable development plan for oil palm production in Africa.
Obaseki, who harped on the need for a sustainable plan to improve the livelihood of the people while addressing the delegates and the industry, noted, “If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. Let me congratulate all of you here today, for demonstrating your commitment to a solution. It is in the interest of all of us in Africa to make sustainable palm oil the norm.”
RSPO’s Assurance Director, Salahudin Yaacob, called for a “long-term sustainable development plan” in the region, stating that “RSPO can only achieve its vision of transforming markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm through collaboration with all stakeholders, from growers to governments, financial institutions to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).”
Africa Regional Director for Proforest, Abraham Baffoe, said: “A sustainable oil palm industry in Africa is something we are deeply committed to – and it is wonderful to have so much interest from companies and other stakeholders. We look forward to seeing these connections deepen as a result of this conference, as we all work together towards an industry which contributes to the economic development of African countries, whilst preserving the crucially important biodiversity of the region.”
The event played host to high-profile dignitaries, growers, NGOs, financial institutions and consumer goods manufacturers, who acknowledged the need for African palm oil-producing countries to convert from net-importers to net-exporters to significantly increase palm oil production.
“In a region where livelihoods are intricately connected to both the palm oil sector and natural resources, and where oil palm growing areas overlap areas of international conservation importance such as High Forest Cover (HFC) countries like Gabon, it is vitally important that any development is done sustainably, ensuring a balance between palm oil production and nature conservation,” the group said in a statement.
According to them, the conference covered the regional implementation of the 2018 RSPO Principles and Criteria; the role of financial institutions in promoting sustainable agriculture; how governments can mainstream sustainability; and opportunities to change the deforestation narrative in African palm oil-producing countries.