SON mulls measures to save Nigeria over N94b from non oil import

GodGift Ifunanya
3 Min Read

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has disclosed that given the needed measures and processes, Nigeria could save over N94 billion on the non-import of palm oil into the country. Moreover, through strict adherence to stipulated standards and quality requirements, palm oil products would attract increased foreign earnings for Nigeria as far as non-oil sector is concerned.

According to a press statement issued by the office of the Director General/ Chief Executive of SON, Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwunonso Okeke, the agency has been making concerted efforts to ensure the growth of Nigeria’s export trade. The statement was released after the agency’s public sensitisation workshop for palm oil operators and stakeholders held in Osogbo, Osun state capital, recently.

The SON statement was apparently in reaction to a shocking disclosure by one of the chief facilitators at the event, Prof. Kehinde Owolarafe of the Department of Agricultural and environmental Engineering, Obafemi Awolowo University, (OAU), Ile-Ife, who said Nigeria loses N94 billion annually to palm oil importation.

According to the don, between 1920 and 1960, Nigeria was the leading producer and exporter of palm oil in the world.

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“But sadly, Indonesia and Malaysia now lead in the production of palm oil in the whole world.

“Though there has been an increase in production of oil palm in the last few years, but Nigeria at present imports palm oil to the tune of about one million metric tonnes to supplement the local production in order to meet the high demand.

“Indonesia and Malaysia produce in tens of million tonnes, while Nigeria is still struggling to reach two million tonnes.

“Currently, Nigeria, which occupied the premier position has been dropped to the fifth position,” he said.

Owolarafe listed some of the factors resulting in the low production of palm oil in the country to include declining productivity of oil palm plantations due to old age.

Other factors, he said were lack of appropriate technologies for palm fruit processing and unfavourable government policies as regards agriculture in general, among others.

The don said there was ugent need to improve the quality and quantity of palm oil production in the country to meet the international standards in order for export.

Owolarafe also warned producers and marketers of palm oil against adulteration, adding that this could be injurious to health of consumers.

“We have to join hands together to ensure production of high quality palm oil. The same climate we have is what Malaysia and Indonesia have and they are doing well. We need to restructure the palm oil industry in Nigeria,” he restated.

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