We only Extract 30% of Oil from Oil Palm Due to Lack of Technology – Association
The Oil Palm Growers Association of Nigeria (OPGAN) said that the oil palm industry deserves more attention for increased productivity as most farmer are only able to extract 30% of palm oil from the oil palm.
The National President of the association, Mr Joe Onyiuke, disclosed this on Sunday in Abuja, during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Abuja.
Onyiuke, blamed the poor production of oil palm on lack of necessary tools and the required knowledge for processing and stressed the need for improved mechanisation for maximum yields.
While commending the Federal Government for its support to the industry, he said that equipping farmers with the necessary tools and knowledge was critical in boosting the production of the commodity in the country and condemned the continued illegal importation of palm oil into the country.
”We lack the necessary tools and knowledge to process and that is why we resort to importation. We need to stop all these importation because when we import, we import poverty from other countries to your country.
”The Federal Government has been very responsive. The Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Trade and Investment are working very hard to support us. On our part, we are working hard to increase our production capacity.
“As a cooperative, it is our duty to train our members and make sure we have market for whatever we produce. Today we have both local and international markets.
”So what is left now is funding. We expect government to help us in the area of funding to increase our production capacity. We stand at the bottom to support the government and our country,’’ Onyiuke said.
The National President further explained that the unemployment and security challenges being faced by the country can be addressed by giving more attention to oil palm production.
”This is simply because virtually everything we use is made from oil palm. What we are enjoying today is what our forefathers did in the 1960s. So we need to understand this crop very well and the best way to handle it.
”It is a golden crop. Therefore, we need to increase our productivity and process in the right manner so that the quality will meet international standard.
”Unfortunately, we still import because most of the local farmers do not know how to process and they don’t have the technology because of poverty. You can imagine working so hard and at the end of the day you are able to extract only 30 per cent of the oil because you are using your bare hands and the other ones turn to waste,” he added.
Onyiuke highlighted the three major products of oil palm (crude palm oil, the palm kernel oil and the cake) which are in high demand in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.
”Tell me where it is not useful; we use it for pasta, bread, ice cream, body cream, soap, detergent and many more. So, we need to change the narrative and begin to process our oil palm in Nigeria,’’ he said.
He however noted that instead of exporting the crude palm oil, there was the need to start adding value to the product.
He also said, ”When you create all these opportunities, people will be absorbed and become gainfully employed and government will make money from taxes and people will be busy and shy away from crime.
He stated that countries like Malaysia and Indonesia took it upon themselves and their governments supported them massively and that is why what they get from oil palm today, we can’t even get from crude oil even though we have what it takes.
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