Obaseki’s reforms: CBN rallies investors for devt of 1,590 hectares plantation
Riding on the back of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s investment drive, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Zenith Bank, Suntrust Bank, among other investors have made commitments to the development of a 1,590-hectare oil palm plantation operated by Raedial Farms Limited.
With the global demand for oil palm on the increase amid supply disruptions, investors are taking advantage of the Edo State Oil Palm Programme (ESOPP), to deepen imprints in the country’s oil palm sector. Already, Edo has about 120,000 hectares of oil palm plantation under development.
Other investors and stakeholders who visited the Raedial Farms facility in Iguomokhua village, Orhionmwon Local Government Area of Edo State include Boston Advisory, CAGL Global, United Capital & United Bank of Africa (UBA). They were received by the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr. Uwadiale Agenmonmen.
Agenmonmen said work is in top gear to supply crude palm oil (CPO) and palm kernel oil (PKO) to the market through the current expansion programme of its palm plantation and mill.
He stated that there was no better time to invest in palm oil cultivation and production in Nigeria other than now, particularly against the backdrop of the recent ban on the exportation of palm oil and oil palm produced by the Indonesian government.
According to him, “The business environment is interesting. There may be ups and downs but lately, the palm oil value chain has been the best in a while, fostered by Indonesia shutting down their export recently and thereby putting the pressure back home.
“In recent times, people that normally import can no longer import palm oil and other products from Indonesia. So, the prices are going up and it is good for the farmers that actually cultivate and sell. In a nutshell, right now, the business environment is okay.”
While commending the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the financial support towards the growth of the industry, he stated that the major obstacle militating the success of farmers in the oil palm industry is largely occasioned by the set of conditions or evaluation commercial banks give to those who want to access the funds provided by CBN.
He added: “The farm sits on 1,509 hectares of land and has currently cultivated 700 hectares while another 500 hectares would be cultivated this year. The oil mill in the farm currently has the capacity of producing 16 tons of red oil every day and from palm kernel oil, it can produce 27 tons every day when there is a full stock of raw materials.”
“We have to bring our current investors and bankers here to physically see what we are doing because there is a difference when you talk to people about what you do on paper and phone calls. We want them to feel connected to where they have their money and with this, we look forward to better business opportunities.”