The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, has directed the Nigerian Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR) to ensure its outstations are functional for full scale activities.
Nanono gave the directive on Tuesday in Benin at the ongoing four – day 2021 seed meeting, in-house research review, and second annual South-South REFILS workshop organised by the NIFOR in Benin.
Represented by Garba Sharubutu, Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), he also directed ARCN to ensure full compliance in line with its mandate.
The Minister called on the research institutes and colleges to come up with suggestions for the establishment of more outreach centres to carry out extension activities to farmers.
This, he said would augment the efforts of the various state governments.
Nanono further called on NIFOR to seek partnership with local and international organisations with a view to multiply seeds for the farmers.
“I want to commend the management of NIFOR for it efforts so far towards improving the livelihood of people by unlocking new possibilities in the industry.
“We have as one of our cardinal agenda the diversification of the economy with agriculture as our primary area of focus,’’ the Minister said.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha said the Federal Government was committed to revamping the agricultural sector through its various agricultural programmes.
Represented by Mr Paul Kanuh, Deputy Director, Economic Affairs, Mustapha commended NIFOR for its efforts geared towards providing seeds and improved technologies to farmers in the country.
He called on agricultural experts and stakeholders to collaborate with NIFOR to enhance oil palm production in Nigeria.
Also speaking, Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo, congratulated the management of NIFOR for the improvements in the oil palm value chain in the state.
Obaseki, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Peter Aikhuomobhogbe, said the state had allocated 45,000 hectares of land to six oil palm investors.
“The plan is to have 200,000 hectares of oil palm developed in the state. The Central Bank of Nigeria is supporting the project with about N69 billion,” he said.
The governor of Niger State, Abubakar Bello promised to continue supporting all NIFOR activities especially in Shea butter production.
Represented by Commissioner for Environment and Forestry, Mohammed Zakari, Bello said Niger had provided over 40,000 hectares of land to National Shea Products Association of Nigeria for Shea butter production.
According to the governor, the state has the largest land mass in Nigeria adding that it is arable and fertile for all agricultural activities.
The Executive Director, NIFOR, Dr Celestine Ikuenobe, who welcomed participants to the meeting, said the institute was carrying out its role as designated institute to carry out research on palms.
Ikuenobe noted that the meeting was designed to review the institute’ activities and evaluate its performance and provide solutions to growers and processors of crops.
He noted that the Research Extension Farmers Inputs Linkage System (REFILS) in the south-South would also be evaluated.
“The event in the next few days will provide us opportunities to report to our farmers and stakeholders on our work, validate and give directions to our future thrusts,” Ikuenobe said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the four – day event has as its theme, ‘’Sustainable and Climate Smart production of palms and Shea for improved Livelihood and economic Diversity’’. (NAN)