The Nigerian Institute For Oil Palm Research – NIFOR has signed a Memorandum of Understanding – MoU with Singapore’s PZ Wilmar to boost palm oil production through research and human capacity building in Nigeria.
The MoU signing event which took place on Friday September 9, 2016, was witnessed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development – Chief Audu Ogbeh at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
Speaking at the event – Executive Director, NIFOR – Dr Omorefe Asemota described the MoU signing as a milestone for the palm oil industry in the country considering the position of PZ Wilmar as one of the largest companies in the Singapore Exchange and a major stakeholder in the development of the agricultural sector. Dr. Asemota expressed the optimism that the agreement would attract more investors and help build a stronger research base and technology input for the industry.
“We are very pleased that after the long discussions we have had with PZ Wilmar, we are able to reach this understanding. We expect this relationship to transform into higher yields and productivity; and in the medium term benefit the people and boost the nation’s economy. We look forward to a very bright future”, Dr. Asemota stated.
According to Mr. Kola Jamodu, Chairman – PZ Wilmar, the MoU is aimed at sharing knowledge with NIFOR and transmitting same unto other farmers to provide employment opportunity for the teeming unemployed youths across the country, adding that the MoU would also promote research to help Nigeria regain its prime position in Palm oil production in the world.
Jamodu disclosed that the company had already begun work at its three locations covering about 30, 000 hectares of land across the country, and that the first sets of fruits were being expected for harvesting.
The Hon. Minister of Agriculture – Chief Audu Ogbeh commended the initiative: “We are very proud of you. We are looking beyond attaining self-sufficiency in Palm oil production and looking at meeting the demand of the rest of the world soon. We did it before but lost our position due to lack of seriousness. We can do it again”.
Chief Ogbeh described NIFOR as very strategic to Nigeria’s drive for self-sufficiency and economic diversification. The Minister pledged the ministry’s support to ensure that the project succeeds; and promised to ensure that the ministry’s spending pattern is adjusted to make NIFOR a priority.