The Edo State Government has reiterated its commitment to ensuring smallholder farmers acquire appropriate skills and knowledge to drive sustainable oil palm development in line with global best practices and in accordance with Round Table for Sustainable Oil Palm (RSPO) Principles and Criteria.
The Team Lead, Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP), Mr. Churchill Oboh gave the assurance at the kickoff of the RSPO Community Outreach Programme held in Benin City, Edo State.
He said, “The community outreach programme is in line with the state government’s desire to make sure investors under the ESOPP programme operate in line with the RSPO set standards and also to make sure that the people of various host communities are equipped with the knowledge of oil palm developments and standards.
“Governor Godwin Obaseki has unequivocally demanded that all investors under the state’s oil palm programme must carry out their production in accordance with the RSPO standards which hinges on three main principles which are Planet, People and Prosperity (PPP).”
He said RSPO partnered with FDS to engage, train and educate communities on the details of the RSPO standards, adding, “RSPO partnered with FDS because the Edo State Government needs the people to be empowered with the right knowledge and understanding.
Oboh added that the partnership will ensure the various communities are provided with all they need to know about RSPO standards in oil palm development and production as well as best practices for small-holder farmers.
The Principal Consultant, Foremost Development Services (FDS), Mr. Ahmeed Abisoye Olanigan, reiterated that palm oil must be produced sustainably and in accordance with global best practices, noting, “Oil palm must be produced in such a way that the interest of the present and future generations must be protected, the cultural, moral, socio and economic livelihood of the people must be protected and it is our responsibility as partners with RSPO to make sure we train and educate the people of the communities about their rights and benefits as host communities.”
According to him, the community outreach and training programme will last for a minimum period of twenty (20) months with different stages and levels of engagement.
A representative of Sabongida Ora Community in Edo North Senatorial District, Chief Segun Emoni, commended the state government for the community outreach programme which will ensure inclusiveness in all the processes of oil palm investment in the state.