The Edo State Government has said that bills to ensure adherence to sustainable practices in the development of oil palm estates are being considered at the Edo State House of Assembly.
The bill is coming on the heels of an elaborate initiative to develop oil palm estates across the State in collaboration with Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) giants, De United Foods Limited (DuFil) and Flour Mills of Nigeria, among others, who are investing in the agricultural sector and building food processing plants in the State.
Acting Team Lead, Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP), Mr. Churchill Oboh, in an interview with journalists, said the State is transitioning to sustainable oil palm practices, which is embedded in the ESOPP scheme.
According to him, “Today, through the sustainable programme, all oil palm companies are mandated to comply with the Round-Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Standard which includes, preserving biodiversity, protecting forests and peatlands, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, respect for workers’ rights and safe working conditions and land rights among others.
“As we speak, there is a bill before the House of Assembly, which will legally back these sustainable practices in the sector.
“Additionally, the State has fully adopted the Free Prior and Informed Consent in engaging stakeholders prior to any activity or investment in the State. I make bold to mention that the ESOPP programme is the game changer and will rejuvenate the oil palm subsector in the country with about 70,000 hectares so far allocated for production and about 40,000 hectares to go as phase two.”
He added, “You may be conversant with the gestation period of oil palm as such, the dividends in terms of yield from the production will be felt in about three years from today. This is because of the different activities that our investors need to carry out prior to commencement of planting activities.”